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ROLE OF WOMEN 

IN 

FREEDOM STRUGGLE 

IN 

A.NDHRA. PR/VDESH 


I>r. K. JANAKI 


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Role of Women In Freedom Struggle In Andhra Pradesh 

Dr. K. Janaki 


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FOREWORD 


I have much pleasure in contributing the Foreword to Uiis book 
on the Role of Women in Andhra in the Freedom Struggle for which 
the author, Ms. K. Janaki, was awarded tlie doctorate degree by the 
Osmania University. 

In the Freedom Struggle as carried out in Andhra, women 
played a very prominent role. They participated in large numbers 
in the Non-cooperation movement. Civil Disobedience Movement, and 
Quit India Movement. In the constructive programme, especially in 
the manufacture of Khaddar, women in Andhra did more work than 
men. They became victims of repression as much as men and in 
several cases their lot and suffering were worse. But they braved 
all this with that kind of patience and herosim for which the women 
of Andhra were always famous. They did everything to encourage 
the production and use of Khaddar. In the spread of Khaddar women 
did even more work than men. 

There are certain unique features about the role of women in 
the freedome struggle in Andhra. 

The fust and foremost as mentioned above is that they actively 
participated along with men bravely and boldly, faced the brutal 
treatment given to them like lathicharge, lack of food, sleep and other 
facilities in the prison. Unlike men, they even had to cook food for 
all the prisoners, pound rice and attend to other physical work, which 
they had never done before. Some of the women had given birth 
to children in the jail under miserable conditions. It should be noted 
here that women who are prepared for this sort of suffering belonged 
to middle and upper middle classes and even aristocratic class. Some 
of them were highly educated; as such they educated many illiterate 
prisoners, men as well as women, who were impriosned for having 
participated in various movements. 

Another important feature of Andhra women's participation in 
the freedom struggle which we do not find in any other part of the 
country was such large scale partcipation in constructive programme, 
especially in manufacturing Khaddar. Women took to large scale 
spiiming on the charka. They started Ashrams which were indirectly 
centres for educating women about the freedom movement and their 
role in achieving freedom. 

Moreover the women realised that money was very necessary 

iii 



to make the movement a success. They voluntarily donated ail their 
jewellery (Shreedlian) and other valuables witliout caring even tor 
protests from the men. This is very unique in the history of freedom 
movement for which Andhra women should be applauded 

Even the strongest imprints on sand get easily wiped out witli 
a single breeze. More so, sacrifices of individuals whose contribution 
gets blown out with the passage of time. However, tlie most powerful 
factor in influencing individuals is the model before tliem. It is in 
this context history provides direction. So, the autlior endeavours to 
project the great sacrifices of women especially of Andhra in this book 
so that the present and future generations can realise the seeds of 
sacrifice in the fruits of freedom they enjoy today. It has also been 
the author's effort to approach the whole subject in an objective 
manner. 

There are many women who had written books on freedom 
movement. The writer of this book belongs to a family of great 
freedom fighters and is very much inspired by their contribution to 
the movement; hence she wanted to pay a small tribute to them by 
choosing this subject for her dissertation. She should be congratulated 
for her success in this endeavour and I wish and hope that this work 
would be a model, a guideline and an example to all young girls and 
women of India. 


Dr. Alladi Vaidehi^ 

Professor of History <Retd), 
Osmania University, 
Hyderabad. 



PREFACE 


Indian Freedom Movement is unique in many ways. It had 
many remarkable features. One of the most outstanding was the lact 
that It involved tlie women ol India in a mtmner unprecedentetl 
anywhere in tlie world Particularly alter the advent of Gandhi|i the 
way in which women of India rallied to the call of tlic Inditm Freedom 
Struggle and tlie sort of role they played is surely unique in the worki 
history In no other National Liberation Movement in Uie world were 
die women so active, and .so important a factor as they were in ours. 
It is for this reason that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the first Pnnic 
Minister of Independent India, paid tributes to women and stiid, "we 
record our homage and deep admiration for die women-hood of India, 
who in the hour of peril for die motherland forstKik die shelter ol 
dieir homes and with unfailing courage and endurance sttiod shoulder 
to shoulder widi menfolk to share widi diem die .sacrifices and triumphs 
of the struggle." 

Andhra Pradesh, like any odier part of the country, playetl a 
significant role in the freedom .struggle. Men, women luul children 
did dieir best to fight for die common cause, (jreat leaders like 
Gadicherla Harisarvothani Rao, Pattablii Sittu'amayya, Ttingulun 
Prakasam Pantulu, Duvvuru Subbtimma, Durgabsti De.shmukh, Sangani 
Lakshmi Bai and odiers tire well known. Suilwaris like Yelkipragatla 
Sitakumari, Ammanna Raja and Arutla Kiuiiala Devi Iiavc entered into 
the pages of history. But there are many more who diti everything 
to give us what we have uxlay. Even diough history has brought 
to light the lives of a number of .such persons, still undenicath the 
water lie a number of great women whose lives are a testimony to 
the great achievement of the nation. Hence every el fort should fx.- 
made to idenufy every individual who had a role in this great saga. 

It is astonishing but true dial women all the world over have 
not. until recent times, participated in the politics of dieir countries 
in significant numbers. It was not any lack of patnotic fervour or 
interest m politics on dieir part but their perception ol' their roji; in 
the socio-political .sot up Uiat could be cited a.s one of the main cau.se.s 
of It - the perception that was conditioned by historical, p.sycho-social 
and socio-economic factors operating in dieir milieu and contlilioning 
tlie ethos ■allcctmg diem. 

The voice of 'Liberal Femiiusm' was larely heard because it 
was ridden with contradictions Uiat weakened its philosophic founda- 


V 



tion predicted on liberal principles - contradictions emanating from 
It challenging tlie ’metaphysical dualism' underlying the classicaJ 
scence of the liberals or even 'normative dualism' underlying tlieir 
political philosophy 

Again the non-participation ot women in the pojitic^il idlairs 
may be attnbuted to tlieir acceptance of tlieir role as homemakers 
sanctified by tradition and socio-religious imperatives to which they 
had to submit in the interest of security or feminine equilibrium in 
a male-dominated world. However, the women who by historic- 
genetic accident or by the forces of their own personalities were able 
to overcome the oppressive forces, keeping them down, achieved 
notable successes as recorded by history - women like Empress Razia 
Sultana in the medieval times, Noor Jahan in the Mughal times and 
Rudramma and Jhansi ki Rani in colonial times are a few well known 
examples from Indian history. Participation of women in tlie 
nationalist struggle spelt out equality with men. Referring to this Tara 
Ali Baig has written "Discrimination on the basis of sex has never 
mattered in all India’s modem political life, nor did women ever 
demand special reservation or preferential treatment." 

Women m ancient India enjoyed a dignified place. There were 
hardly any prescribed positions exclusively earmarked for men, nor 
were women denied access to higher reaches of learning as exemplified 
by Gargi. Women participated m the outdoor activities as circum- 
stances and situations demanded. 

It was the invasions of Huns and Muslims from north-west 
which caused widespread destruction, economic depression, political 
instability and migration of population that forced the local populace 
to resort to child-marriages, ’Sati’, 'Pardali-system' and denial of 
educational opportunity - to protect, their women. This had shutt them 
off from participation in the public life Despite these miserable 
conditions, some women excelled as administrators, warriors, reform- 
ers and educationists. It was the Rani of Jhansi who won the 
admiration even from the British, "Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi," 
observed Sir Huge Rose," was the bravest and best military leader 
of the rebels." The people of Jhansi fought for tlie queen and 
independence of the country. ^ Women worked in the batteries and 
carried ammunitions. Women and children assisted in the repair of 
the damages and in carrying food and water to the soldiers on duty. 
Rani of Jhansi herself went with all zeal to tlie batteries to rouse the 
spirit of the soldiers. 


VI 



She had also organised a powerful corps ol women volunteers. 
Lalitha Ben Bakshi of the neighbouring Suite was an expert htir.se 
woman who helped the Rani as Uie first volunteer during the atuick 
in March 1858. The woman volunteers assisted tlie masons ol the 
army by carrying the building material for bkicking tlie gates and 
reconstructing the battery position on the nunparts of the city. This 
entire group did their work unflinchingly, imd brought the building 
materials, least heeding the danger near die Jhania gate which was 
directly under the gunfire of the British artillery. 

Mention may be made of anotlier brave woman Begujn Zeenat 
Mahal, wife of Bahadur Shah, who protested against rule of the British 
She issued a proclamation calling upon the people to shake off llieir 
differences and to make an hone.st effort to recover their lost Irecdom. 

Begum Hazrat Mahal of Oudh is yet luiother sucli example. 
She gathered her troops and fought to tlie last. Westexn etiucalion 
and contacts influenced the land and opened new opportunities Woods 
Despatch on Education of 1854 had a provision for women's education 
The spread of English education and the libentl British traditions 
created an atmosphere in the country for launching several social 
reform movements. Thus the outbreak of 1 857 was followed by social 
refoims and social reconstruction orgiuiisations like Brahmo .Samaj. 
Arya Samaj, Tlieo.sophical Society, Ramtikrishna Mission tind others. 
These organisations worked for .social relonns and uphltment of 
women of die land. Tlius, the need of educating women was felt. 

It IS interesting to note Uiat among die .socitil reformers we al.so 
find women who were keen to do sometliing for dieir fellow sisters. 
They made a distinct contribution imd hclpt'd, sometime.s indirectly, 
the cause of Indian freedom. They worked for the education of women, 
gave shelter to child widow.s, and taught them to live with prule in 
society and cam their own livelih(K>d. A sense of service to society 
was also instilled. 

In the 19th century .socio religious reform movement in India 
took different shades and colours. Tlic .socud eonsciouncss generated 
by the reform movement gave a push to new political awarene.ss in 
the form of national freedom struggle. People began to feel tliat India 
must be able to take lier own decisions instead ol leaving them to 
While Hall, London. If die countiy waS politically free, .social refonns 
would penetrate more easily. 

In die present century, politicization ol women gamed ground 
receiving its impetus initially Ironi revolutionary politics with which 


vii 



women in Bengal got involved in the wake of the widespread protest 
against the partition of Bengal in 1905 and later in tlie 1920’s from 
Mahatma Gandhi's pon-violent non co-operation movement. While 
the terroristic revolutionary movement launched by the extremists of 
Bengal drew relatively small number of woman and that too in 
Bengal. Gandhiji's non-cooperation movement involved large number 
of women all over the country. Indeed, it had a ready appeal to Indian 
women, as it neither disrupted their domestic set-up nor did it distort 
the traditional image of Indian women as being a personification of 
passivity, silent-suffering and self-sacrificing. It is, therefore, not 
surprising that it had mobilized women for active politics. Thus, 
decisive breakthrough in this regard was brought about by the National 
Freedom Struggle under the charismatic leadership of Mahatma Ganhi. 

The present attempt seeks to analyse the part played by women 
of Andhra in the country's liberation movement and takes in its sweep 
the most important issues raised by it - issues centering political 
activism and its implications for the participation of women. 

It is a fact that tliere has been unprecedented participation of 
women in Freedom Struggle and die role pf women had entered in 
pages of history on account of historical recording; yet the ocean of 
freedom struggle is so vast and deep that it provides gems widi every 
chum we attempt. 

Hence this humble effort is to preserve in records — 

★ names of such women who played a role but missed the mention 
in recording history. 

★ names of such women which were merely mentioned but were . 
not covered fully. 

★ further data on some of the women participants, who have 
already entered the pages of hisotry. 

The experience of interacting directly with the slowly disap- 
pearing generation of freedom fighters was richly rewarding. It is 
felt that this work will be the most appropriate homage to them during 
this Golden Jubilee Celebrations of our Independence. 


Hyderabad 

August 1. 1998 K. Janaki 


viii 



CONTENTS 


Page No. 


1. Nationalism and Women of Andhra 1 

2. Non-cooperation Movement 34 

3. Civil Disobedience Movement 65 

4. Individual Satyagraha 187 

5. Quit India Movement 201 

6. Gandhian Ashrams & 

Women’s Organisations 228 

7. Freedom Movement in 

Hyderabad State 243 

8. Retrospect 283 


9. 


Bibliography 



About the Author 

Dr. Janaki Komanduri, a lecturer in history, developed a keen 
interest in modern history while working initially as a social 
studies teacher She took an additional degree in history and 
pursued it up to doctorate level. Inspired by the role played by 
women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle, this volume is 
brought out as a record of their sacrifices. 

Dedicated to My Parents 

Revered father Mangachari Komanduri who inspired me by his 
practice of Gandhian principles and my beloved mother 
Kanakavalli who is a model of Bhudevi for her infinite patience 
and understanding. 





NATIONALISM AND 
WOMEN OF ANDHRA 


Women had played a very significant role in die history ol the 
freedom movement in India, Many believe dial die movenienl would 
not have been successful but for the piu'ticipanon of women. It is 
really surprising that women could take such a lead in die niovement 
when It was often believed that diey tK'cupied a subservient jxi.suion 
in society. It may appear paradoxical but it is true. In the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries, several efforts were made by die social and 
political reformers to uplift women, educate them ami train tiiem so 
that they would imbibe die ideas ol naitonalism. patriotism, liberty, 
democracy etc,, We come across individuals like Kandukun 
Veeresalingam Pantulu, Raghupatlii Venkautratmun Naidu and othcis 
and insitutions like Brahma Samaj, Women's Indian Association, ami 
other local associations which occupy loreniost place in the eman- 
cipation of women. MAn attempt is made m this chapter to highlight 
the various factors responsible for die growth ol nationalistic leclmg 
among women in Andhra. Social freedom is interlinked with political 
freedom. For the progress of a nation both are a must. Hence, .social 
reform movement and the freedom movement are the two insepiu-ablc 
movements for political liberation, each complementing the other suid 
ultimately ushering in a new polilictU imd .social order by D>47 m 
our country. The history of these two movements runs over a hundred 
years. 

Striedy speaking, there had been no feminist movement in India, 
similar to any of those dial originated in the West, Although in India 
the movement had started all of a .sudden die pju'ticipation tif women 
drawn from all classes and its unimagiiied numbers on die political 
scene was doubtlessly starUing. Raja Rammolum Roy began the 
movement for the amelioration of women in Indiim society and 
Gandhiji had taken it to its peak. Besides Uie.se two giant leaders, 
there were a number of social reformers, bodi men muS women, who 
were responsible for bringing abtiui a number of social reforms. India 
was blessed with a galaxy of leaders like Dr. Annie Besant. Mahatma 
Gandhi etc. who were staunch believers of women’, s emancipation. 
They made the utmost effort tti reform women so a.s to enable them 
to participate actively in the freedom movement. 

There were men who, while .struggling for political freedom 



2 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


wanted their women to help them m realising women's emancipation. 
For tliem as followers of Gandhiji, improvement of women's status 
became ^ pre-requisit{; for political freedom. So, women's movement 
and political movement came to be intertwined. 

By tlie middle of the 19tli century various forces like English 
education, press, and changes in the position of women prepared the 
ground for the seeds of reform. 

The condition of Indian women in the 19th century 

It was a common belief till the 19th century that women were 
fit only for household activities and that their place was in the kitchen. 
Margaret Cousins, in her book 'Indian Womanhood Today’, opined 
that viewing from different dimensions like literacy, individuality, 
iiealth, social status, freedom of movement and economic indepen- 
dence, the condition of women in the 19th century in general all over 
India, was at its lowest ebb The "Friend of India" in its issue 
supported the above view. The need for liberation of women was 
felt in India in the 19th century as the women underwent considerable 
sufferings and miseries specially during the 19th century. Girls were 
not wanted as children and other presence was not welcome. Similar 
situation existed with some variations in Andhra as well. 

Female Infanticide 

One of the social evils that women had to face in those days 
was female infanticide. Birth of a female child was not welcome 
even by parents and tliey were exposed to death According to 
tradition, son, the heir apparent is the only person who is the saviour 
of the parents. He performs tlie last rites to his parents without which 
it is believed that parents have, no salvation (cannot go to heaven). 
Further, the man and the wife have no right to perform a number 
of religious ceremonies if tliey are childless. So if tliey have no son, 
it is customary to adopt a boy ^who would make them eligible for 
performing many rites. Thus, son is a "must" in the Hindu family. 
On the other hand, birth of a girl is largely looked down upon even 
now. Tod writes tliat Rajputs were often heard to explain "Accursed 
tlie day when a girlchild was bom". Even though we do not have 
categorical evidence of female infanticide in Andhra, birth of a 
girlchild does not receive spontaneous welcome in several families 
even today. 

Child Marriage 

The second social evil that persisted ui tlie society was child 
niiirriage Dr. Annie Besant had a great regard for tlie Hindu custom 




Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


3 ; 


of marriage and tlie ideal of this samskara - which she said, did not 
exist anywhere in the world. But tins system lost its signilicancc. 
as well as validity because of the introduction of child marriages in 
India in the later periods of history due to various retisons. So, she 
said, "there is no ideal of marriage anywhere known which is more 
exquisitely beautiful tlian the Hindu ideal but it is u-<impled in the 
mud". Girls were married very young i c between die tiges of one 
and ten years and sometimes less than a year, leaving no opportunity 
for them to iniprove of their physical or mental self Etu-ly marriages 
were celebrated because the young girl at tlie time ol marriage could 
adjust herself to her husband and his relations as well as to the new 
set-up. But one of the abu.ses of this custom was that the wile lacked 
the Imowledge of a married life tmd its responsibilities. Tlie life in 
the new environment became miserable a.s*tlie mollier-in-law mid oilier 
relations used to torture her. Tlie girl dius underwent sullering right 
from her birth, as a female child, as a childwife as a child-modier 
and very often as a child widow. 

This system blocked all the channels of devetopnient-physical. 
mental and even spiritual. It resulted in crushing tlie indivuiutility 
of the child wife. Early marriage and early consummation curtjuled 
freedom and joy of girlhood. The practice of child mamage was 
responsible for die high rate of infant mortality. Fuller observes, "of 
children bom every year, only about luilf the number reacheti the age 
of thirty years." 

The following figures .show diat even in I930'.s the cu.stiwn ol 
celebrating child marriage had not subsided and this resulted in the 
increase in the number of child widows. 

Several efforts were made by Raja Riunmohtm Roy and odier 
social reformers to fight this evil. In Andhra, social reformers like 
Kandukuri, Venkata Ratnam Naidu and odiers had dedicated their lives 
for this cause. 

Distribution by Civil condition of each 


Age Married and Widowed 



1891 

1901 

1911 

1921 

1931 

0-5 

10 

6 

6 

8-1 

14 

0-10 

66-2 

48-2 

57-2 

46-2 

I0I-3 

10-15 

310-11 

248-9 

278-9 

234-10 

237-7 

15-20 

75-31 

690-34 

705-33 

699-36 

754-38 



4 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


The toliowing statistics are given by Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy 
in lier autobiograpiiy 


Age 

Married 

Widowed 

0-5 

20,369 

1,316 

0-10 

1,23,472 

6,146 

10-15 

5.37.206 

23,623 

15-20 

11.67,063 

1,80.544 

20-25 

17,69.587 

1,57,026 

25-30 

16.55,732 

2,23,384 


4,72,039 


Sati 

Sad, tliough not obligatory, v/as also performed in Andhra. 
The siege of Bobbili by Bussy in 1757 was followed by tlie self 
immolation of women enmasse. In Peddapuram, around 1734, tlie 
reigning Zamindar Timma died in a fight witli Rustum Klitui. Timma’s 
motlier Rangamma arranged tlie fire and all women tlirew tliemselves 
into it. Siiamma belonging to die same family also performed Sati 
in 1760 when her husband died fighting with Ananda Gajapathi of 
Vijayanagaram. The two wives of Ananda Gajapadii committed Sati 
when he died at Rajamundry. This practice prevailed, in Nuzvidu 
family too. When Raja Narasimha Apparao and his successor 
Sobhanadri Apparao died, tlieir wives preferred deadi. Sitamma, wife 
of Venkatadri Apparao also followed her deceased husband in this 
way in 1771. When Narasimlia Appa Rao died in 1789 his wife was 
dissuaded from die act of self-immolation by a European officer 
commanding die station. Vennelakand Subbarao's journal menhons 
diat he was an eye-witness in Guntur when die widow of Tomoo 
Papaiali practiced Sati in 1822. The instance of a woman Alcliayamma 
who committed Sati was mentioned by Francis. The Act passed during 
1829 was applied to die entire country and might have prevented the 
recurrence of die event. The elite was also reacting against diis practice 
as is known to us from Kasiyatra Cliaritra. Veeraswamy convinced 
the local pandits at Gaya tliat Moolasmritis do not support Sati and 
hence it was not an obligation. He did not go beyond to consider 
the plight of young widows. This account reveals diat die practice 
oi’ Sati was conlincd to royal, tuid zamindari families. Thus in diis 
State, unlike ni Bengal, this was not practised by common people. 

This social evil was a great obstacle in die life of women. So. 





Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


5 


social reformers had taken greatest care to see tliat this system woukl 
become completely extinct. Fortunately in Andlira when British 
government forbade Sati, efforts were made to pul an cad to Uus 
practice. So, we do not have many instances ot Sati since then. 

Enforced Widowhood 

The child marriage had its repercussions luid many girls became 
widows even before they had attained the age of puberty. In some 
places they had to observe the cruel custom of Sati. But where Sau 
was not a universal practice, the widow was compelled to lead a forlorn 
life. She was deprived of the minimum comforts of life. She had 
to live on one meal a day, sleep on the floor, and wear only borderless 
white saree. She was not allowed to grow hiur on her hetid tmd look 
beautiful. She was considered inauspicious. Hence, she was not 
allowed to attend any functions. She was denied all home comforts 
and was doomed to a life of forced servility in Uie family in which, 
during the lifetime of her husband, she most probably ruled as a queen. 
In the words of Behramji Malabari, a staunch advocate ol widow- 
marriages, Sati was a single act of martyrdom or heroism, as the victim 
conceived it, and an act of religious merit as popularly believed, while 
the life which caste imposed on an unwilling widtiw was a perpetual 
agony, a burning to deatli by slow fire, without any chastening or 
elevating effect on the sufferer or luiy mtiral titlvamage to the 
community at large by way of compen.salion. She was re.se ueii from 
the flames and was condemned to undergo her life sentence ol 
rigourous imprisonment. No wonder, faced with sucli an altenuitivc, 
many a widow had eagerly embraced the flame.s and became a Sati 
inspite of the law prohibiting it. Thus the condition <vf a widow in 
Hindu society was unfortunate and mi.semble even to this day. Hence, 
there was a great need to reform tliis evil custom and improve the 
life of these innocent girls. Pioneers like Kandukuri stnd many others 
worked hard to improve the lot of these unfortunate girls. 

Despite strong oppostion from all sides, die first widow 
marriage was performed in 1881 at Rajamundry die couple being 
Gogulapati Sriramulu and Gavaramma. Four days later, the second 
widow maniage between Rainamma and Ramachandra Rao tixik place. 
In 1884 a Society of widow marriage was .started. By 1901. this Society 
performed thirty tlirec widow miuriagcs. They were continued by 
Kandukuri's followers and other ardent reformers like Chilakamarthi 
Lakshminarasimham of Rajamundry and Unnava Lakshminarayana of 
Guntur. 



6 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Devadasi System 

Another despicable system tliat \v«o predominant in Andhra was 
that of Devadasis, specially from the sixteentli century onwards. In 
the 19th century it had become an in-diing for men to visit die 
Devadasis. They used to spend a lot of money on them which 
ultimately impoverished and ruined their families. Besides there were 
many Devadasis who shunned this type of life. Though highly talented 
in many arts, most of tiiem had to expose diemselves in obscene ways. 
While many girls wanted to lead a normal life it became impossible 
for diem to move in the normal society as diey were not welcomed 
by it. 

Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya gondemnd this practice as "a 
monstrocity and religious crime". Concerted efforts were made by the 
social reformers to eradicate this system as Devadasis, who were highly 
talented would really be an asset to the society and could play a 
very useful part in the freedom struggle. 

Veereasalingam Pantulu was the first social reformer in Andhra 
who agitated against tlie system of Devadasi. He exposed the evils 
of this degrading system through satires, articles and pamphlets. 

Raghupati Venkataratnam Naidu carried further the work ini- 
tiated by Veeresalingam Pantulu. His social purity and anti-nautch 
movement roused public endiusiasm and hastened reformation. These 
efforts were continued later on by Darsi Chenchaiah. 

There was by then great awakening among the Devadasi 
community itself. Yamini Pumatilakam belonging to Kalavantula 
family reacted at the degrading status of the Kalavantula community 
in society, and openly condemned this evil (detials vide Biography 
of Yamini Pumatilakam). Thus, we find an initiative to end this evil 
system in Pre-Gandhian period itself. Gandhi too continued tlie efforts 
of his predecessors. This evil custom came to an end with the Bill 
that was introduced and 'passed in 1937 and 1947, respectively, due 
to the efforts of Ammanna Raja and Dr. Muthu Lakshmi Reddy. 

Dowry System 

The Kanyasulka or bride's money lured greedy parents to get 
their young daughters married even to old men if they could get a 
good sum in the bargain. There were a number of stories depicting 
the plight of these young girls. Gurajada Apparao's "Puttadibomma 
Pumamma." is a classic example of Kanyasulkam He tried to 
highlight and prevent tliis evil pracuce to a large extent. His book. 
"Kanyasulkam." became very popular It was staged in every comer 


Nationalism and Women ot Antilira 


1 


of the State. It became more ptipular alter ii was lilnietl. A lull Iviu h 
consisting ot Chief Justice Sir Aniokl White and JuMite.s Millci and 
Munroe ruled tliat a contract to make payment to a latlici m 
consideration ot giving daughter in marriage i.s immoral and opposed 
to public policy wiiliin die meaning Sec 23 ol the Indian C'ontract 
Act. Under orders of His Highne.ss the Maharaia ol Vi/ianagaiani. 
a list was prepared sometime around 1887 of Brahmin Sulka mainagcs 
performed in Vizianagaram district during the year. The number ol 
marriages recorded reached one diousiuid luid Uiirty lour duniig the 
year. This practice was followed by "Vara vSulka" money given along 
with the girl which had changed die lortune ol die girl to the woi.se. 
The greed of the groom and his parents reached the Ilinialayiui peak 
and any amount of offering was not sullicient. As the money given 
did not sadsty the groom's parents, die lot of die bride even aliei 
marriage caused serious concern. Even today this evil ptactice is 
persisting in many families. The parents of these giils are never in 
peace, because die in-laws ol die girl continuously demand money 
or gifts even after marriage and there is a constant threat to the hie 
of the girl. 

Various organisations- were re.sponsible lor the eradication ol 
these social evils to a large extent. The relonn movements stalled 
in the nineteenth century as a re.sult of contact ol uuhgenous culture 
with die Western culture. Western culture, however, had its mllucncc 
only on the progressive intelligenda. In the beginning ol the twentieth 
century, the iiresistablc forces of nationalism, liberalism and cgahlan- 
anism imposed a new pattoni of outlook on the people, whose 
quickened awareness manifested it-self in their concerted action in the 
political and social fields. The year 19(K), which marks die quickening 
of the awarene.ss, had been taken as the starting point. Tlic sub.sequem 
years had witnessed the emergence ol several Ibrec.s which helped m 
carrying on the reform work initiated in die previou.s century, to full ill 
and provide an impetus that was nece.ssary for diis country to emerge 
as a democratic and progrcs,sive nation. 

This period is of great signilicance m ilie Imstiuy of Andhra 
region too, on account of its pioneering work in die lield of struggle 
for India s Independence and progre.ssivc social relbrm.s. The aim ol 
the social workers was die crcatkni ol a homogeneous .society by 
removing die social inequalities. Owing to die intluence ot education, 
deep rooted soci^ evils of the day diat had great intrinsic importance 
were attacked with vigour and sustained energy. The refomi work 
concentrated on die progres.s of women besides its attack on many 



8 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


otlier social evils. Institutions such as the Bralimo Samaj and Arya 
Samaj, as well as the etlorts ol the reformers, reflected their presence 
in every nook and comer of llie country 

The Bralinn) Samaj was undoubtedly a socio-religious move- 
ment and it was a revolt against existing social order. It popularised 
a form of thiestic worship which was a synthesis of the essential truths 
and basic ideals of die great religions of not only India but of the 
entire world. It denounced caste system, and concubinage, and 
supported widow marriages, encouraged education of women, preached 
against the evil of drinking liquor, and emphasised the equality of 
men and women. In brief, it has visualised a creative revolution in 
die society in keeping widi the march of the dme. 

Brahmo Samaj also had a great impact on the emancipation 
of women in Andhra. Basically -it stood for equality of men and 
women, religious freedom etc. Many great men in Andhra who were 
impressed with these teachings and activities of Brahmo Samaj called 
diemselves Brahmos. Great social reformers like Kandukuri and 
Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu were all Brahmos. 

Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu 

The first important personality associated with the Brahmo 
Samaj was Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu. He was regarded as 
die "Morning Star" of the great movement for the emancipation of 
women. It was dirough his untiring efforts that many child-widows 
could lead a better life. The widow remarriage movement gave 
strength to women to become courageous and overcome alTman-made 
customs and laws. 

Veeresaligam was an ardent advocate of women's education. 
He organised public meetings at which he fervendy espoused the cause 
of girls education. He stressed' the need for women's education. He 
said that freedom of the nation was useless without women's upliftment. 
In one of his lectures, he requested the people to give freedom to 
the wives first by giving them proper education. He also emprasized 
that girls should be given freedom to choose their life partners. 

He argued that girls needed education for a happy home and 
the development of the country. Educated men should see that their 
wives are also educated and treat them not as slaves but as life partners 
without whose co-operation, neither die country nor the family could 
be happy. Hence, it is the primary duty of every educated person 
to strive for girls education and then think about the freedom and 
foreign rule. These meetings strengthened the cause and whittled down 




Nationalism and Women ol Andhra 


y 


opposition springing mainly from the elders. .Several ol them were 
convinced of tlie need for girls education and tins resulted in the 
establishment of a girls' school in 1874 at Dhawaleswartmi near 
Rajamundry Veeresalingam. in his various lectures emphasised the 
need for education of women, eradication ol prostitution and concubinage 
and Harijan upliftment 

He was particularly interested in widow marriages and his 
phenomenal success in this field earned him tlie approbatitin ol the 
great social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade, who was called 
"Dakshina Bharata Vidyasagar." The crusade for widow mairiage was 
entirely the effort of Veeresalingam. 

A pitiable product of child marriage, as mentioned earlier, was 
the child widow. Since early marriage for girls was regarded as a 
religious duty, the parents of the girls got Uieir daughters married as 
early as possible. In choosing husbands, tlie parents had to consider 
a .number of factors like the family background, the sect, subsect, 
financial background etc. lliese limited the choice and gave an 
opportunity to the parents of the boy to demand a heavy dowry. A 
good match always meant a heavy expenditure beyond tlie capacity 
of the poor and middle class parents. Stinietinies, die parents gave 
their second daughter to the same person when die eider tine died. 
Sometimes, Kanya Sulka, or. 'bride’s money' that templed the p«urent.s 
to get their young daughters married to old men if diey ctiuld get 
a good sum in the bargain. Thus, we find sevenil miuxiages of very 
young girls to men ol advanced age due to a number tif I'actors. The 
cause of this social refomi had received strong support from the 
judgement of the Madras High Court. Because of this evil custom 
a large number of young girls were married and many of them were 
widowed even before diey could visualise the mairied life, 

Veeresalingam quoted extensively frtim the Sastras in support 
of widow marriages. As a counter to die injunction of Manu, 
Veeresalingam quoted Vidyaran.sa Smrithi which mentions how women 
who were not willing to offer Sail were allowed to get married again. 
He made several public appeals for widow marnages. He held 
discussions with his opponents where he repeated his appeal in even 
stronger terms. In his struggle he could get die support of his close 
friends and students, with whose help he was able to pnxeed with 
his work successfully. The interest he .showed despite die physical 
and financial tribulations which he faced in this connection were really 
praisewortliy. He got all his lectures on die subject printed and freely 
distributed them for the enlightenment ol die public. He promised 


10 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


all help to his students who were willing to mtirry widowed girls. 
A trust with Rs. 10,000 donated by Pydfiii Ramaknshnaiali was formed. 
The year 1881 wimessed the performance ol the first widow marriage 
in South India. 

Hitakarini Samaj 

Hitakarim Samaj was established on 15tli December 1906 witli 
thirty six members. The main aim of tlie Samaj was to establish and 
run widow homes, orphanages, educational institutions, and art insti- 
tutions. It had nine executive members. Veeresalingam, the founder 
President, donated his entire wealth worth of about Rs. 43,500 and 
prepared a Deed of Trust and got the Samaj registered on 2nd May 
1908. The Hitakarini Samaj ran a school for young ladies besides 
the widow home. The widow home was located in the beautiful Anand 
Gardens given by the founder Achuta Ramaiah. Here, the widows 
were given systematic education in English and Telugu. Particular 
care was taken to foster religious and spiritual outlook by arranging 
for regular prayers both in the morning and evening. Thus every effort 
was made to develop good character and self-reliance. Physical 
training was also given. His wife Rajyalakshmamma started a Zenana 
school in her house and gave regular education to the widows and 
took personal interest in running the institution. Besides, training was 
also given in spinning, tapemaking, weaving, sewing, lacemaking etc. 
To develop a spirit of humility and a sense of dignity of labour the 
inmates were made to attend to kitchen work too. Two pairs of clotlies 
were given every six months to the inmates. There was much 
opposition even for this good philanthrophic work. But the couple's 
selfless, devoted service helped the institution to function successfully. 

Veeresalingam was a prolific writer and used his literary talents 
to condemn superstitious practices and false beliefs. Through a number 
of pamphlets and articles with full of satire and sarcasm, he condemned 
the prevailing social evils and exposed the inhumanity and irrationality 
of his orthodox opponents. As early as 1874. he founded two journals 
"Viveka yardhani", and "Chintamani" which were among the earliest 
attempts at journalism in Andhra. His lively articles and trenchant 
views created a great stir in the society. In one of his plays entitled 
Viveka Deepika. though incomplete, he exposed the evil custom of 
Kanya Sulkam. He got all his lectures on different social evils 
prevalent at various places printed and distributed to all. 

The nature of the cause he had taken up and his total 
commitment secured for him strong support from tire elite in society. 
His mission gained basic strength because of the enthusiastic following 


Nationalism and Women of Andhra 1 1 

of the youtli of the day most of whom happened to be his students 
at the High School where he was a Telugu Pandit. I’hese young men 
were his soldiers who bore tlie brunt ol die social battles Jought by 
their teacher and leader. Ranade and Vidyasagar also actively 
encouraged him. He strongly believed that unless women were Ireed 
from the age-long bondage of social disabilities and were restored to 
their rightful status in society all programmes of social progress would 
come to a standstill. 

Thus the contribution of Veeresalingam not only made him a 
pioneer of social reform movement and a relentless crusader against 
the social evils in Andhra but also one who inspired future reformers 
through his heroic example. His multifaceted social reform activities 
were aimed at liquidating ignorance, religious prejudice suid .social 
injustice. He, as the maker of modem Andhra left such an indelible 
mark on the history of tlie period Uiat it came to be known as the 
"Veeresalingam Epoch", and he came to be called die "bather ol 
Modem Andhra" for he laid the foundations in that direction by 
preparing the minds of the people for achieving both social reform 
and political progress, which were realised in die twcntiedi century. 
As, Dr. C.R. Reddy wrote "taken all in all, Veeresalingam is the 
greatest Andhra of modem times. Sri Veeresalingam suinmetl up in 
his personal history the evolution of an epoch". "Most people live 
without illuminating the period in which they live. Tliey neitlicr give 
nor catch the light. The hero is one wlio both catches and generates 
the new spirit, that initiates principle of change luid advancement 
without which life becomes mere stagnation luid even nuisance*' 
Veeresalingam reflected the new age because he was one ol its potent 
makers. If he was its creator, it was partly because lie was its creature, 
for only they create who allow Uiemselvcs to be impregnated by the 
time spirit. Veeresalingam entertained views which were atiead of his 
times. Nevertheless, it took time to achieve fully all die ideals lor 
which he dedicated himself. 

Tlie wave of Vandemataram movement has inundated the 
coastal districts of Andhra with the arrival of Pal to Rajamuiulry and 
generated natitinalistic feeling among the people. But Veeresalingam 
was never against die Biritsh rule. This revolutionary political 
atmosphere was never supported by him. Almo.st every stKial reformer 
felt the need for reforming .sixicty first which ultimately would lead 
to the development ol die country. Veeresalingam felt the .same but 
diis did not mean that he was not interested m politics or was unaware 
ol political aftairs of the day. He was also the representative of Hindu 


12 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

Desia Sabha held in 1887 at Madras But the general attitude of the 
people in those days was pro-British. 

Kandukuri Rajyalakshmamma 

Kandukun Rajyalakshmainma wife of Veeresalingam, was bom 
in 1851 and got married at her twelfth year. She had immense respect, 
faith, confidence and affection for her husband and his social service. 
She was educated and enlightened by her husband. She extended to 
him all her cooperation not only in family life but also in all his 
activities. The couple started Prarthana Samaj in which women of j 
all castes met once a week and held prayers. It gave an opportunity ; 
for women to come out of their homes and meet at a common place. 
Veeresalingam encouraged women to participate in conferences, read 
papers, give lectures and write articles in the magazines. This was 
really the beginning of women's movement in Andhra. 
Rajyalakshmamma also attended the women social conferences which 
were held along with the Andhra Mahasabhas. She gave all her support 
and help in conducting a number of widow marriages and inter-caste 
marriages in their house. Their house soon became a refuge for 
widows and orphan women. The hardships and inconveniences 
undergone by this couple and their men literally stealing widows from 
their parents and performing their marriages will ever remain as a great 
monument to their unbounded enthusiasm and single minded devotion 
to the cause of suffering widows. 

Rajyalakshmamma herself took up many social service activi- 
ties; among them were: 

1 . Efforts to eradicate ignorance and illiteracy among women. 

2. Rehabilitation facilities to the widows in her house. 

3. Shelter to destitutes. 

4. Elimination of caste feeling and traditional blind beliefs etc. 

Besides these, 

a) She gave shelter to five orphan destitutes and got them 
married. She herself took the responsibility for a baby 
who was deserted by the mother. The baby was named 
as Premavathi and brought up by Rajyalakshmamma. 

b> She established Home for destitutes opposite to her 
house and gave shelter to prostitutes and devadasis. 

c) She had given a great service to harijan upliftment. 
When she found a harijan lying on die road in a mid 
summer, she with the help of Kanapartlii Sriramulu, a 




Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


n 


friend of her husband, brought him home 

While performing tliese activities, she had to face tough 
resistance. All her relatives including her matenial uncle who educated 
her and brought her up. requested her not to cooperate with her 
husband. But she was firm in her conviction She was tm embodiment 
of patience, and looked after the women under her trust as a motlier. 
She used to convince her husband with her soft words when he was 
angry. She died at the age of fifty eight on 2nd August in 1910. 
Rajyalakshmi Nivas with a flower garden by name Rajyalakshmi 
Pramadavanam was maintained in her memory. Veere.salingam wtis 
very much pleased with the cooperation rendered by his wife in till 
walks of his life and so he dedicated his autobiography to her in 
recognition of her services and cooperation 

Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu 

Among the followers of Veeresalingtim who continued his 
activities of social reform was Brahmarshi Raghuptiti Venktitaratnam 
Naidu. He deserves special mention. He was a man of impeccable 
honesty and a fine product of Western education. As a revered leader, 
an architect of modem Andhra a renowned refomier tintJ eminent 
educationist, he was one of tlie brightest stars of the pcruKl. In the 
field of spiritualism he had lew equals. 

A great spell was cast on Venkataratnam Naidu by the work.s 
of R.R. Roy, Dr. Miller, and Pandit Shivanadui Stistri. Veere.salingam 
influenced his life to a remarkable extent. To the.se mu.st be added 
the name of Venkataratnam Naidu's wife Seshamamba who though 
young taught him to be loyal to tlie Royal witliin even in adversity. 
Her early death made a humanist of him. Venkataratnam piud .special 
attention to alleviate people from impure and socially undignified life. 
Ranade considered him as "the bom prince among die educated .son.s 
of India." As the Principal of die Kakinda's P.R. College he intnxiuced 
free education for harijan boys and girls and worked in many way.s 
for their upliftment. For him S(x:ial reform was not a fa.shion but 
a faith, not a convenience but a conviction. In die words at Dr. 
Pattabhi Sitaramaiah he became "our John, the Baptist before Gandhi, 
the Mahatma". 

He carried on a countrywide campaign propagating anti-nautch 
activity and social purity. He advocated womens education, supported 
widow marriages, denounced polygamy and tried tti rationtdise Hindu 
doctrines. The impact of his preaching was msiinly on the students 
who were infused with a new enthusiasm for social reform. It i.s furdier 
recorded tliat die manager of a temple put a stop to dancing girls in 



14 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

the temple This was hailed by the public as a change for the better 

His tender care of the orphans and the widows as well as 
affectionate concern for the oppressed in society was something 
phenomenal The orphanage, the college, and the Bnilimo Samaj 
Mandir at Kakinada were "tlie nursery, tlie rosary and the sanctuary” 
as he lovingly used to call them. They constituted the tripod on which 
his glory rested for ever." 

Venkataratnam Naidu carried further the work initiated by 
Veeresalingam Pantulu. Moralist as he was, Naidu's social purity and 
anti-nautch movement roused public enthusiasm and hastened refor- 
mation. He felt that purity in personal, domestic and social life 
constituted the keystone of moral strength and national greamess and 
stressed that the sino quo non of the reform movement was "good 
manners and pure living." Though comprehensive in nature and based 
on a higher level Naidu’s work was more of a preventive nature than 
remedial. 

Due to his efforts, the widow marriage movement spread 
gradually to other communities, such as Vysya, orthodox Srivaishnavaite, 
and Kamma communities. The movement made considerable headway 
chiefly at Rajamundry. The welcome sign of changed conditions 
particularly at Rajamundry facilitated the task of social reformers and 
helped in the performing of widow marriages which increased in 
number. In 1902 other social reformers like Chilakamarthi Lakslimi 
Narasixnham, KaravepalU Subbarao and Kunduri Venkataratnam who 
belonged to the Brahmo Samaj arranged such marriages. One of the 
brides was sent by Unnava Lakshminarayana from Masulipamam 
where reactionary sentiment was strong. 

From the above, it is quite evident that Brahmo Samoj played 
a very active part in producing a number of reformers who worked 
for the emancipation of women which ultimately was responsible for 
the participation of women in the freedom movement in Andhra. 

Role of Education 

There was considerable debate over the position of women in 
society from the mid nineteenth century onwards. These debates 
signalled the beginning of a period of change for women. 

Female education made a fair start at Vizianagaram, Kakinada 
and Rajamundry. The age-long prejudice against female education 
began to weaken and even girls from higher strata families began 
joining the new schools, though their number was small and negligible. 




Nationalism and Women of Andhra 1 o 

The total number of girls in normal schools throughout India was live 
hundred and fifteen in 1881-82 

The wife of A V Narasinga Rao a rich landlord at 
Visakhapamam, started a school in 1867 for girls wiUi a separate 
school for married women She became tiie first Andhra womsin to 
pioneer the cause of education for women in Andhra. Another schotil 
for girls at Kakinada was started in 1871. Kandukuri Veeresalingam 
Balika Pathasala at Dhawaleswaram was the first effort by a person 
of limited resources to start an institution for tlie promotion of female 
education. Andhras who at one time were averse to educating women, 
now accepted a change for the better. 

The activities of male reformers were supported by the work 
of progressive women in Andhra. A. Kaleswara Rao of Congres.s 
repute established a Balika Pathasala at Vijayawada m 1901 with the 
assistance of the well known wnter Bandaru Atclumiainba. He also 
established the Victoria Memorial Balika Pathasala at Ntiiuhgtima m 
1905. Veeresalingam ojiened the Victoria Ptuhasala at Rtipimundry 
and a separate .school for girls in 1907. In the same year HiUiaktirmi 
Samaj was started by him. Some of die progressive women in Aiulhni 
supported the activities of die mtde refonners. Choragudi Sitamnia 
also managed a middle school at Bapatla. 7'he Ram of Pithapuram. 
Chinnama Devi, took .special interest in fenude educatum. She beisell 
being a scholar, patronised liberally prominent women scholars like 
Kotikalapudi Scethamma, Talem Tulasanuna and odiers. hi 1910 
Balantrapu Seshamma established Vidyardhini Samajum at Kakinada. 
This involved a heavy financial strain but she laced all difhcuUies 
courageously and carried on her work with unabated fervour. 

All these elforts reveal die commendable initiatives taken by 
a number of Andlira women in establishing sehtxils to spread women's 
education and in encouraging parents to .send dieir daughters to the.se 
institutions widiout any re.servation. Tlji.s ultimately resulted in the 
awakening of women. Thus politically diey became constiou.s and 
this led to the active panicipation of women m Andhra m the freedom 
movement. 

Role of Press 

The spread ot Western ideas and culture wa.s facilitated by the 
growth of the press. Educated women .stxm started publishing standard 
works with a view to transform .society which wa.s steeped to tradition 
and custom. "Abtda Sachcharitra Ratnamala" ot Bandtiru Atchamamte 
is a classiciai ie.stimony to her intellectual capabilities. This work 
unfolds die life sketches of women who had attained prominence not 



16 Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 

by chance exigencies of the situation but by their hard and sustained 
work, zeal for national service, valour, and perseverance. Women 
like Torn Dutt, Shikander Begum, Molla, Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, Tarabai, 
Rudrama Devi and several others find a place in this book. It is 
interesting to note that the author states in the Preface tliat it was 
written to disapprove the impression that women in general were by 
nature physically and morally weak. Atchamamba had contributed 
a number of articles to various journals like Hindu Sundari. 

Kotikalapudi Seethamma was a writer and disciple of Kandukuri. 
She wrote two poetical works called "Sadhu Rakshana Satakam" and 
"Ahalyabai." She gave a number of lectures on social evils and on 
women's education. She was the president of the Mahila Vibhag of 
the Andhra Mahasabha in 1913 at Bapatla. All these speeches were 
printed in the form of Upanyasamalika. 

Almost all these books of the women writers encouraged 
women's education and eradication of social evils and blind beliefs, 
awareness of the deplorable conditions of the women and ways to 
overcome them. We do not find any political tinge in it. 

Several periodicals intended for the prcanotion of women's 
education came into being. Though men were the pioneers in this 
respect, later on women evinced keen and fruitful interest in improving 
the- lot of their sisters by publishing periodicals in Telugu. 

In 1861 Madam Geden and Kandan started a monthly in Guntur 
called Upadhyopakari. It was for the first time edited by a woman 
but was not meant for women. 

From' Madras, Gnana Bhanu another monthly was started by 
Madam Anan which was also not meant for women alone. But these 
could not survive for long. 

Twentieth century brought a hew era in the history of press. 
This pCTiod saw the birth of numerous new magazines and periodicals 
to educate the public opinions. Vivekavardhani of Veeresalingam 
Pantulu played a prominent role in popularising his ideas on social 
reform. He could fully make use of the press and issued a number 
of pamphlets and published articles to spread the messages of social 
reform. 

Telugu Zanana, a Telugu women's journal was edited by a great 
literary figure Rayasam Venkata Sivudu during 1883-1907, from 
Rajamundry. Telugu Zanana was meant for general reading of women. 
The magazine dealt with the conunon subjects like women's education, 
moral stories, and some other details about women and their meetings. 
To cite a few examples, the 1 899 issue dealt with general information, 




Nationalism and Women ol Andhra 


17 


the 1904 issue had articles on female education and some moral stones 
for women, the 1907 issue had given detiuls of Hindu women's 
conference, 1918 issue was about freedom for women - women and 
poliucal affairs - need for equal rights, by Kanupartlii Varalakshmamnia. 
and the 1919 issue dealt with Swadesi teeling and National Education 
by Rapaka Kaustubham. 

Hindu Sundari 

In 1902 Hindu Sundari was published from Kakinadti by 
Sattiraju Sitaramayya. It was intended to enlighten women about 
Indian culture and the need for reform of tlie condition of women, 
especially Hindu women. He worked for the cau.se ot women'.s 
education. Hie magazine was subsequently managed by Venipali 
Santabayanuna, Madabhushi Chudamma and Balantrapu .Se.shamma. 
Under their editorship a number of articles were pubh.shed by various 
women on women's duties and responsibilities. The Hindu Sundari, 
of all the periodicals, rendered conspicuous .service in the earlie.st .stages 
of the movement. It stirred the dormant talents of numerous women 
who freely contributed to its columns expressing tlieir views on matters 
directly, or indirectly connected with their welfare. While twelve 
women wrote in the first volume, forty three wrote in the second, 
sixty six in the third, and sixty six in the fourth. 

Kotikalapudi Sitamma and Kandukuri Rajyalakshmamma, 
Bandaru Atchamamba, and Vinjamun Chudamma were some of the 
women who contributed their articles to the vanous magazines and 
journals. These were published along with their pictures. Tlie print 
order was twelve hundred copies and this .shows the prominence and 
popularity gained by this magazine. Tliere were about thirty 
correrspondents who sent news to the magazine. Tliis magazine was 
continued with several breaks dll 1942, The magazine strongly 
condemned the early marriages of girls, and forced widowhood to 
which some of the women associated with the magazine like Vexnuganti 
Papayamma and others were victims. It encouraged women's education 
and widow marriages. It is interersting to note that this magazine 
also published matrimonial advertisements. 

Some of the interesting topics and popular writers of 
Hindu Sundari were : 

★ Bandaru Atchamamba on Women's Education in the 1903 
February issue. 

★ PeddibhatIa 'Venkata Subbamma on Female Education in the 
1903 June and July issues. Similarly topics covered in subsequent 
issues were as follows. 



18 


Women of Andhra in tiie Freedom Struggle 


S.No. Year & Month 


1 

1903 

Febraury 

2 

1903 

Apnl 

3. 

1903 

May 

4. 

1903 

June, July 

5. 

1904 


6. 

1905 


7, 

1905 

September 

8. 

1906 

September 

9- 

1906 

December 

10. 

1907 


11. 

1910 

June 

12. 

1910 

October 

13. 

1911 

June 

14, 

1912 

February 

15. 

1912 

June 


16. 

1912 

August 

17. 

1912 

October 

18. 

1913 


19. 

1914 

June 

20. 

1917 

June 

21. 

1917 

Novemb 


Author Topics 

Band am Women’s 

Atchamamba Education 

Peddibhatia Responsibilities of a 

Venkata Subbamma Housewife. 

— — Higer Education for 

Women 

— — Female Education 

— — Social and Literary Topics 

— — Female Education. 

— — Indian Women - Illiteracy 

and Social Evils 

— — Women Organisations and 

Women’s Education. 

— — A Comparative Study on In- 

dian Women and English 
Women. 

— — On Women's Education. 

— — An Essay on Kandukun 

Rajyalakshmamma. 

— — Hindu Women her Qualities 

and Nature. Marriage at ten 
years by Damerla Sitamma. 

— — Women’s Education. 

— — Kumool Stree Samaj and its 

Annual Celebrations, which 
was attended by two hun- 
dred women. 

— — Duties and Responsibilities 

of Indian Housewife and 
Deplorable Conditions of 
Hindu Women. 

— — Conditions of Hindu Widow 

— — Freedom of Women, 

Women's Education. 

— — Duties of the Women. 

— — Women’s Education System. 

— — Andhra Mahila Sabha meet- 

ings and its details. 

— — Freedom for Women and 

Women's University. 


Another monthly Hiidayaravam from Madras was run by 
Madam Devan to spread Christianity. 






Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


19 


Anasuya 

Anasuya another periodical and colourful mag<izine. attracted 
everybody with a beautiful cover page, and con.structivc essays and 
articles by different eminent women. The magazine was edited by 
a contemporary of Achanta Rukmim Lak.shmipathi.,Vinjamuri Venkata 
Ratnamma from 1912 to 1930. Though not a graduate she passed 
Vigyan Chandrika and became a writer. She wa.s the sister of a famous 
poet, Devulapalli Krishnasastri. She was die wife of Vinjamuri 
T .a kshmi Narasimha Rao. She was associated with the Stree Samajam, 
Stree Prarthana Samajam, and Gosha School in Kakmada. She worked 
for the cause of women's education. She graduated her daughters 
Anasuya that and Seetha. It was in the name of one ol her daughters. 
Anasuya, that the periodical was started and edited by her. Miuiy 
prominent women writers had contributed their articles to this peri- 
odical. Some of the interestmg topics of Anasuya were: 

Why Were Women Inferior to Men — by Gudtpudi Indumadii 
Devi in September 1918. She was a great writer and earned a place 
in the Ifsf of famous women writers of Andhra by Utukuru Lakshmi 
Kantamma. A number of other articles were on kindne.s.s patience 
and other needed qualities for women. V. Venkata Ratnam wa.s ai.so 
the editor of another periodical '’Andhralak.shmi" She wa.s the author 
of a number of books and she wa.s listed in the Women Writers of 
Andhra. 

Other Periodicals 

Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham edited, a penodicai called 
Saraswathi. 

In 1917 Madam Macualay froni Guntur ran a short-lived paper 
called "Message for Women," in Telugu for spreading Christianity 

Other periodicals of this kind were Saviihri which was run by 
Pulugurta Lakshmi Nara.Samamba, and Vidyavathi by Kripabai 
Satyanadham. 

Grihalakshmi 

Though this journal was started during the Gandhian era it 
continued the efforts of the earlier periodicals. This was started by 
Dr. K.S. Kesari. Grihtilakshmi encouraged many women writers by 
offering "Swama Kankanam" a golden bangle for the best production. 
A popular writer Kanuparthi Varalakshmamma won the bangle for her 
contribution "Sarada Lekhalu". 

Writing in Grihalakshmi, Sringarakavi Lakshmi Naiasamma 
strongly pleaded that even Manu, the great lawgiver, had declared that 


20 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


wonien by birth are more intelligent tlian men. So, to enable a girl 
of fifteen to learn to live like a wife and motlier, she must be taught 
all about child welfare measures. There should be an eight year phm 
to educate such girls on Indian tradition and modem civilization in 
Grihalakshmi. 

Some of the articles in Grihalakshmi 


Title Author Yeai* 


1 Women are Not Weak Many women wrote on this 1928 

2 Freedom of Women V Saras wathi 1929 

3 Abolition of Child Atlun Venkata Sitaxnma 1929 

Marriages 

4 Dowry System Kongara Annapumamma 1929 

5. Can a Deserted Peddada Kameswaramma 

Woman Marry Again? 

6. Women <fe Injustice Durgabayamma 1930 

7 Anti-Divorce P. Kamaladevi 1930 

8 Anti-Divorce Kadapa Rama Subbamma 1930 

9 Anti -Divorce Ayyadevara Balatripura 1930 

Sundaramma 

10. Women and Divorce Adurthi Bhaskaramma 1930 

(in favour of) 

11 Women and Divorce Achanta Mangalamba 1930 

12. Understanding Kanuparthi Varalakshmamma 1930 

Between the Couple 

13. Understanding Susarla Lakshmamma 1930 

Between the Couple 

14 Freedom- Indian Women Opinions 1935 

15 A Plan for Women’s Snngarakavi Lakshmi 1935 

Education Narasamma 

16. Women's Right to Property Editorial by Durgabai 1935 

17 Attitude of Women ” 1939 

18, IntercasteMmaniages ” 1939 

19 Divorce Bill " 1939 


Thus a new medium for the expression of public opinion was. 
available and this brought about a free interaction of various conflicting 
points of view, current in the country. It enabled people to think 
for themselves about the evils surrounding life in society iuid 
encouraged tliem to work towards a better and more desirable social 
set up in tlie country. Though these periodicals never mentioned the 
politic^d situation of tlie land, indirectly they led to the political 





Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


21 


awtikenmg among the women and llius prepared ground for the 
political struggle. 

Library Movement 

One ot tlie outcomes of die development of die press was the 
library movement, that was started in 1914 to inculcate socio-political 
awakening among die Andhra people A number of libraries in 
different places were established Ayyanki Venkataramanayya intro- 
duced a touring library specially for encouraging women's education. 
In some of the libraries separate sections for women and children were 
maintained. These libraries in villages organised home delivery of 
books for women in night schools These schools celebrated festivals 
of different religions as national festivals. The books of some of the 
women authors like Bandaru Atchamamba, Kotikalapudi Seethamma 
and others found place in these libraries. 

This library movement and the press produced stalwarts like 
Rukmini Lakshmipathi, Ponaka Kanakamma and Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma who ttxik a leading part in the freedom struggle. 
Rukmini Lakshmipathi emerged as the first graduate who was an ideal 
example to the entire women folk of Andhra. 

During the early 20th century, as a result of social and 
educational reform movements, there was a growth of political 
consciousness among tlie women in Andhra. 

Women's Organisations 

One more factor that was responsible for the growth of political 
consciousness among women was the role played by different women’s 
organisations. Women's organi.sations were started as forums for 
expressing tlieir political ideas. Women delegates attended tlie annual 
sessions of the Indian National Congress. Women’s assticiations and 
conferences contributed much to tlie progress of women in education 
and politics and in bringing them out from their seclusion into public 
life. Women organisations gave tliem opportunities for self-expression 
and self-development. Tlius women were able to extend Uieir activities 
from their homes to the country. When tliey began to voice tlieir 
needs for tlie first time, they demanded better and more education 
for themselves. Education, even of tlie few among women, opened 
tlieir eyes to the existence of certain customs and conventions which 
hampered their physical and intellectual, growth. 

The earliest organisation was die Women’s Association at 
Rajamundry established in 1902 by Kotikalapudi Seetliamma who 
displayed commendable keenness for educating women. In November 


22 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


1902, Bandaru Atchamamba and Oruganti Ramamamba started a 
Women's Association at Masulipatnam. Its objective was to have the 
educated women gathered at one place as frequently as possible and 
persuade them to deliver a series of lectures to the illiterates on topics 
like management of household affairs and the life and work of women 
who consecrated their lives for the country’s cause. This association 
worked efficiently for sometime and even held two conferences. A 
few years later new blood was infused into this organisation with the 
joining of Valluri Parvatamma. T. Singamma, C. Pankajamma, P. 
Satyavatamma, and N. Saraswatamma of Masulipamam. 

Similar associations were started at several other places by other 
women enthusiasts. The women's association at Kakinada was founded 
in 1904 by Palugurtha Lakshminarasamamba. It became defunct after 
functioning for a couple of months but was later revived in 1910 and 
the Raja of Pithapuram and the Rani of Tuni liberally donated to the 
association. This association organised libraries and undertook the 
publication of a periodical, the Hindu Sundari from 1913 onwards with 
Madabhushi Chaudamma and Kallepalli Venkataramanamma as its 
editors. 

Another women's organisation at Kumool was started by Burra 
Butchi Bangaramma in November 1911 with about forty women who 
regularly participated in its various activities. 

The Satyasamvardhani Association of Vizianagaram was also 
started in 1911 with an initial strength of eighteen members and a 
collection of one hundred books. This association discussed the 
problems relating to women's education, early marriages and other 
allied subjects. The Mabalakshmi Association of Srikakulam which 
was established in 1912 laid emphasis on devotion to God and virtuous 
life. 

The other pioneer women workers like Kandukuri 
Rajyalakshmamma, Somarla Bangaramma and Sattiraju Syamalamba 
took initiative and brought Prarthana Samaj into existence at Rajamundry 
and Eluru in 1911 which mostly encouraged devotional congregations. 
The Bhakti Samaj of Visakhapatnam strongly supported by Utta 
Sundaranuna emd guided by Sitamraju Narasamamba served to instil 
among women devotion and spirituality. These institutions fostered 
unity and self-respect among women. 

Another important feature of tliis awakening among women was 
the organisation of women's conference at almost every important U)wn 
in Andhradesa to voice tlieir grievjuiccs and aspiniiions Women begtm 
to attend and participate more tuid more in the conferences where their 
advocacy of reform of evil stx'ial custom.s was more eflective thim 



Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


23 


that of speeches of men in influencing tlie Hindu public opinion in 
favour of social relorm These conferences helped to direct the course 
of women's movement in its formative stages Issues and problems 
concerning women in general were freely discussed and resolutions 
were passed at die conferences 

The Andhra Ladies Conference held at Masulipatnam in March 
1913 passed tlie following resoluUons. 

1 Higher educauon of women should be promoted. 

2 Government .should multiply girls’ schools so as to establish 
one in every town and village. 

3 A system should be evolved for imparting technical instruction 
to widows and rescued women. 

4. Women teachers, preferably widows should be employed in 
girls schools as far as possible 

5. Training schools of advanced education should be establi.shed 
for women . 

6. Girls who have attained puberty should also be sent to schools. 

7. Women should be given the right tti acquire stree bharanam 
in the shape of immovable property. 

8. Curriculum of girls education should be in accordance witli their 
needs. 

9. Early maniages .should be banned. 

10. Mairiagcs before attaining puberty or before the age of sixteen 
should be prohibited. 

11. KanyasuUcam and Varasulkam .should be banned. 

12. Girls below fifteen being given in marriages to men above forty 
should be re.sistcd. 

13. Foreign travel .should be prohibited. 

14. Caste distinctions should be removed. 

'nic.se resolutions reveal the degree of awtUcening among 
women. 

In the course of her addre.ss as President of tlie Andhni 
Conference held at Ktikinada on 8th May 1916. Achanta Rukmini 



24 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Lakshmipathi remarked that on account of these conferences, there 
was a growing realisation of national self-consciousness and a desire 
for the assertion of lawful rights among women. 

She furtlier remarked that tlie most liberal and enlightened 
countries have infused into us the love of liberty, freedom and 
independence which are markedly characteristic of the British race. 
The country's administration on the other hand had failed to bring the 
country to a due level of prosperity and accordingly convinced a large 
majority of Indians of the imperative necessity of self rule. The success 
of the agitation carried on by our men for the accomplishment of such 
laudable object depends no less on us, than them, where more than 
half of the population are left in ignorance, where they are treated 
as slaves at home and tools abroad it is impossible for the people 
to attain their political salvation. 

Women’s Indian Association : 

It was through the inspiration of Dr. Annie Besant that the 
Women's Indian Association was started in 1917 with headquarters 
at Madras. Its prominent members like Margaret Cousins, Muthulakshmi 
Reddy and others worked to spread this movement by organising its 
branches in several places. This was the first attempt to have women's 
associations in Andhra. Later this organisation developed as the All 
India Women's Conference with branches throughout the country. 

It effectively highhghted the problems of women which gained 
considerable public attention. It started tackling the educational and 
social problems of the day with special reference to women. Its branch 
in Andhra took up the cause of women with spirited militancy, and 
intensified the agitation for a comprehensive programme of educa- 
tional, social, economic and political advancement of women. It 
brought women of all communities to its periodical sessions to gather 
on a common platform and served as forums for women to express 
their opinion on the problems of women. The resolutions came to 
be regarded as the authoritative expressions of the views of enlightened 
women regarding the various problems facing them. It was successful 
in mobilising public opinion in favour of women's rights. 

The conference was the successor of the social conference and 
was the only organisation engaged in propaganda work. Its staunchest 
supporters were those women who had responded to the appeal of 
the Congress. It remained for a long time as a non-political organisation. 




Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


25 


It could bring the Child Marriages Act and other laws relating to 
marriage, divorce, and inheritance. It eventually became an unofficial 
Congress auxiliary and urged women to take Kkhaddar and Swadesi 
as effective instniments for the promotion of the economic welfare 
of the country as a whole. Thus it took interest in the freedom 
movement. In 1936 it not only prnssed a resolution in favour of an 
agitation fcsr complete independence but also urged all women voters 
to cast their vote in favour of the Congress candidates. 

The movement of women in India is characterised by its 
emphasis on equality with men, rather than on separate rights in any 
sphere of activity, viz., political, economic, social or educational. 

Dr. Annie Besant: 

The appearance of Annie Besant on the Indian political arena 
was an important landmark in the development of public consciousness 
towards women's education and their emancipation in Andhra area. 
Her vigorous campaign to redeem girls from illiteracy and to stop the 
pernicious practice of early marriages gave a fresh stimulus to women’s 
movement. It was through her Home Rule Movement and the 
newspapers such as 'Common Weal’ and "New India' that she spread 
the political ideas throughout the country. The League members toured 
all towns of the provinces including Andhra and enrolled people as 
its members. In Andhra, before her advent we find women were 
growing socially conscious but not politically. Though her movement 
was confined to the educated elite in the towns, it was due to the 
lead given by her that an organised movement for the emancipation 
of women and to put forward the demand for political rights for women 
came to be established. Her leadership gave strength, encouragement 
and inspired the women of the land to take part in the national life 
of the country more and more and to join the national movement in 
increased numbers. Muthulakshmi Reddy rightly observed, "Annie 
Besant prepared the ground for the Gandhian Freedom Movement in 
which women have played a prominent part." 

Margaret Cousins 

Margaret Cousins was a Theosophist. She worked along with 
Dr. Besant. They threw themselves into the great reform movements 
of the time to work for tlie welfare and uplift of Indian women. 
Margaret Cousin's contribution to the cause of women's education is 


26 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


great. She was associated more with elite women of Andhra. 

Impact of Westernisation 

Western education had- great impact on educated women. They 
were very much influenced by the Western idea of liberalism, 
democracy and nationalism. When in the later part of the T9th' century 
nationalism had gained ground, intellectual thought emphasised the 
necessity of change based on indigenous social institutions and 
ideology. 

The evolution of women’s role from a private to public life 
was influenced by Westernisation both directly and indirectly. The 
leaders among women and traditionalists argued that the womens 
liberal movement was of an indigenous growth as the Indians were 
sensitive to the suggestion that the educated modem women in the 
role of an educationalist, social reformer and politician was a product 
of Westernisation. But it is a fact that they were influenced by Western 
ideas and ideologies. 

From the mid 19th century onwards there was considerable 
debate over the position of women in society. The debates signalled 
the beginning of a period of change for women. Many women, 
specially those belonging to the upper strata of society, were exposed 
to influences from such quarters as missionary societies, government 
agencies as well as leaders of their own society. 

With the advent of the nationalistic stmggle elite Indian women 
began to participate in politics. They were present in large numbers 
in political meetings, debates and proceedings. There was a link 
between the role of women as demanded by convention and tradition 
and the emerging political role of women of the 20th century. Women 
who had spent their tune mainly in the limited environment of the 
household were now attempting to adapt and adjust to the larger and 
more sophisticated world of politics. Nationalist leaders encouraged 
this acdvity with not much of a drastic change m women’s role of 
a household and in politics. 

The Kotappakonda Riot 

The political awakening among women also gets revealed in 
the Kotappakonda riot. This event to which some political importance 



Nationalism iuid Women of Andhra 


27 


was ascribed, occured during tlie Mahasivaratn on February 18, 1909 
at Kotappakonda m Guntur district Unfortunately there was certain 
amount of discontent among the people owing to ngorous enforcement 
of some sanitary measures. There broke out a quarrel between a 
devotee by name Reddy and a police constable which resulted in die 
arrest of Reddy. A crowd quickly gathered and demanded the release 
of Reddy. They pelted stones and sticks and die constables fired in 
the air. Kales wara Rao tried to give political significance to the riot 
by saying that the crowds including women attacked police widi die 
cries of "Vandemataram, we want Swaraj.” But the police report was 
silent on this. However, this reveals diat there were women in die 
crowd and they were politically awakened. Though it was not a protest 
against the British rule, tliis was positively a beginning of die political 
consciousness among women. 

Indian National Congress 

The birtli of the Indian National Congress in 188^ furnished 
a political platform for women also. This was the beginning of a 
new era and from that time onwards the women of this land stt«*ted 
taking part in the political activities of die country. Andhra women 
in the beginning did not speak out or take active pan m the Congress 
and confined their activitiy to attending die congress sessions. We 
note a number of women from all over India and in particular from 
Andhra attending the Calcutta session of the Congress. 



Proceedings of the Indian National Congress from 1908 - 1917 . 

APPENDIX E 


28 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


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30 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


The table gives the list of delegates from Madras province, who 
attended the 20th Indian National Congress session held at Bombay 
on 17, 28, 29th December 1915. 

Struggle for Political Rights 

An All Women Deputation to the SetTetary of State and the 
then Viceroy Chelmsford was organised in 1917. The appeal was 
prepared by Sarojini Naidu and it demanded the right to participate 
in the political activity of the country. The deputation consisted of 
women from different parts of India. The memorandum submitted 
marked a distinct milestone in the history of emerging womanhood 
in India in 1917. 

The final recommendation in the Montague - Chelmsford 
Report, however made no mention even of the political status of 
women completely ignoring their demands. The Women's Association 
made vigorous protests which was actively supported by diverse 
women's organisations like the Seva Sadan, the Indian Home Rule 
League and its branches, the Mahila Seva Samajam and all provincial 
Congress committees all over the country. The Indian National 
Congress meeting at Calcutta under the Presidentship of Annie Besant 
adopted a resolution stating that women shall not be disqualified on 
account of their sex in any activity. 

For the first time, the Andhra Provincial Conference also joined 
the struggle and passed a resolution in favour of women’s suffrage 
being included in the Reform Bin in 1918. Several other deputations 
went to England in 1919. Finally the parliament decided to consider 
the whole subject as a purely domestic matter and left the question 
to be settled by the Indian provincial legislatures. Consequently the 
provincial legislatures, one after another, enfranchised the women of 
their provinces who possessed the qualifications fixed for men. 

Thus a great battle was won and this was an index for showing 
the growing importance of women in the political field also. As a 
result of this a few women in Andhra as in other parts of the country 
acquired the right to vote and participate in the political life of the 
country. 

The enthusiasm of women to exercise the newly acquired 
privilege is evident from their active participation in the collections. 
The Government nominated Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy as a member 
of .the Madras Legislative Council, and thus she had the unique 
distinction of being a Deputy Speaker of a State Legislature, the first 
lady member of a legislative council in the world. Later she was 
elected unanimously to the responsible post of the Deputy President 



Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


31 


of Council in recognition of her meritorious public services. 

Mass participation of women in the nationalist movement in 
the laip 19th and early 20th century was unique. There was no 
contemporaneous Western model. Women in the West were primarily 
involved in the demand for suffrage. They were motivated by a desire 
for personal gain and for benefiting their own group. 

It IS evident that women of India were also concerned with 
the independence of the country They were mobilized through a sense 
of national pride in Indian society and culture. TTie primary focus 
of their activity was, therefore, not feminist but nationalism. The 
nationalist movement provided them an opportunity to get involved 
in activities outside the home, an auxiliary benefit of tlieir new 
perception of women's role in society. 

The great social reformers like Kandukuri, Gurajada, 
Chilakamarthi, and Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu wrote several 
books and articles which highlighted the great part played by women 
in ancient and medieval times in political and social fields. Some 
of th^e books and articles of Kandukuri include. 'Fortune’s wheel', 
which described the Hindu family life, religious and other blind ideas 
and beliefs, women’s backwardness etc.; women's education, which he 
had described in "Satyavathi Charitra", and child marriage in his book 
"Brahmo Marriage." He had also contributed a number of articles in 
his papers like Vivekavardhini and in other contemporary papers and 
journals. 

Gurajada Apparao along with patriotic songs also wrote a drama 
called 'Kanya SuUcam' in which he emphasised the practice of selling 
girls in the market should be banned. In those days, young girls weae 
given in marriage to old men for the sake of money. "Puttadi Bomma 
Pumamma" a ballet written by Gurajada reveals that a young beautiful 
girl was married to an aged man. Even to this day Puttadi Bomma's 
story is very popular. Thus Gurajada tried to stir the hearts and minds 
of people through songs and ballets. As early as 1897 he argued 
that women should enjoy the right of divorce. This clearly reveals 
the extent of his deep concern for the upliftment of women. 

Several associations were constituted during this period which 
also had great impact on women. It is to be observ(^ that while 
these associations were organised, attempts were made to understand 
similar situations that had occured all over the world. For example, 
the women liberation movement in the 19th century in the West. 'The 
political consciousness of women is relatively a new phenomenon all 
over civilized world. The struggle was for political franchise, the 



32 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


right to vote. Like many other revolutionary ideas the notion that 
women should share political power gained support in Europe only 
after the French Revolution. The English ideal of parhamentary 
government based on universal suffrage was not achieved very easily. 
Finally until 1928, the women in England did not get the right to 
vote. 

This feminist movement of England served as a beacon light 
for women all over the world. Once the political rights had been 
granted to them, the women concentrated on removing all the sex 
disqualifications for entering or assuming or carrying on any civil 
profession or vocation. The League of Nations also recognised the 
principle of affording equal opportunities. So, various womens 
organisations which came into existence in India, specially in Andhra 
were based on these ideals. The participation in the Andhra Mahila 
Conferences by women like Kandukuri Rajyalakshmamma, Rukmini 
Lakshmipathi and others reveal the confidence gained by these women 
and their efforts to spread this consciousness among the women. Thus, 
the efforts of refonnists and women prepared the ground for the 
participation of women in political movements openly in large number. 

In the upper middle class families and in the Zamindari families, 
special efforts were made to give Western education to their girls by 
the elders in the family. "We educate our sons, teach them English 
and Western ideas, and then marry them to girls who have had no 
education. The result will be a breed of mules." These were the 
words of the Rajan of Nabha. This reveals the fact that men educated 
on Western lines wanted their women also to be as progressive as 
the women in the West. In some of the families European and Anglo 
Indian teachers were engaged to educate the women of upper class. 
Tagore, Nehru and many other families were benefited by this method. 
But the samstanams in Andhra were far progressive. The Maharaja 
of Vijayanagaram founded four schools for girls at Madras in 1872. 
The government of Madras has acknowledged the enlightened and 
liberal spirit of these people. 

The middle class women attended schools which were run by 
Christian Missionaries as well as schools run by Ponaka Kanakamma, 
and Kandukuri. These schools developed the spirit of participation 
in public meetings and skills, in speaking on various issues. Rukmini 
Lakshmipathi, Ponaka Kanakamamma, and Unnava Lakshmibayamma 
were such women who became leaders in the later Saiyagralia 
movements. Thus the impact of westernisation of women ultimately 
resulted in their involvement in political movements. 



Nationalism and Women of Andhra 


33 


Thus, as a result of the efforts of the reformists like Sn 
Kandukuri and others in Andhra, the women responded immediately, 
picked up the momentum by starting various educational institutions 
to awaken the women. In order to spread this consciousness we find 
women running journals along with their contribution of articles. 
Since, all these institutions and journals were organised and articles 
written by women, there was a general awakening as a response to 
the efforts of the women. The articles of women influenced the women 
more. These journals tind 'magazines led to the bringing up of the 
talents of the women to the limelight. Though none of these efforts 
had any political tinge, the women reacted sharply. Thus, the untiring 
efforts of great reformers and other elite women did not go in vain. 
The women in Andhra gradually started taking part in the various 
political movements. 

One peculiar feature that has to be noted is that unlike in the 
North the problems of purdah and Sati did not exist in Andhra except 
in Muslim families and royal families . So, when efforts were made 
by social leaders to involve women in the various social movements 
they could attract them within a very short time and make them 
participate actively in the social and political movements. In this the 
Brahmo Samaj, the Theosophical Society, and the Indian National 
Congress played a significant role, as mentioned above. The awareness 
and consciousness which were the products of the reform movements 
could bring a number of women social workers. These were the 
various factors that were responsible for the growth of national 
consciousness in Andhra. 




NON-COOPERATION 

MOVEMENT 


The actual participation of women in tlie freedom movement 
started with the entry of Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian politics. Hie 
advent of Gandhiji brought a new political force in the Indian horizon. 
He gave a new outlook to the movement. This was die first time 
in the history of India and that of the world that women were given 
great importance in the political movement. This trend has been 
beautifully expressed by K.P.S. Menon who wrote that during the 
ascendency of Gandhiji "an adventurous navigator, could take India 
beyond the gulf of Home Rule and the straits of Dominion Status 
into the swelling sea of Independence." With his entry in Indian 
politics, the National Movement took a new turn in both its ideologies 
and methods. Gandhiji richly deserves all the credit bestowed on him 
by his contemporaries and others. Now the question is how did the 
womei> in Andhra react to the ideology of Gandhiji, which laid the 
base for their active participation in the movement. Perusal of a brief 
note, on the idelogy of Gandhiji may be necessary in this context. 

Gandhian ideologies were based on his principle of Satyagraha, 
which was implemented through Ahimsa. He had chosen specially 
these two to make his movement a mass movement wherein men as 
well as women could actively participate in large numbers. 

The essence of Ganhiji’s method of non-violent Satyagraha was 
based, besides ethical moral percepts, on certain definite promises for 
a mass movement. He had definite and fimi belief or confidence in 
women and called them "Shakti." Without Shakti life ceases to 
function and without women, therefore, there would be no movement. 
It was in this context women were seen as able and morally strong 
exponents of the art of waging a non-violent war. Gandhiji held that 
"the beauty of a non-violent war is that women can play the same 
part in it as men." He emphasised not only the weakness but the 
strength of his method of struggle. It was not less dangerous than 
the rifle but morally superior. He puts it "a bullet only kills, persuasion 
transforms". As compared to the open violent mass movements which 
draw a negligible number of women to its fold, even in such secret 
organisations as of terrorist groups which carried out their activities 
as hermetically with few exceptions, mainly played supportive roles 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


35 


despite theontical equality, carrying messages, hiding weapons, keep- 
ing in touch with absconders, keeping house and giving shelter." 

Gandhiji, while stressmg the need -for tlie participation of 
women in the freedom movemei'rt fep «which he evolved tlie weapon 
of Ahimsa, had pointed out the various problems tliat women were 
facing in those days. He felt that without the emancipation of women, 
women's participation in the movement would be negligible. He 
analysed their problems as - child marriage, enforced widowhood, 
economic dependency, inequalities, illiteracy, Devadasi or prostitution, 
etc. He had suggested ways and means of solving these problems. 
The impact of the various movements of the early social, religious 
reformists on the people and in particular on women had been powerful 
indeed; in that it had brought about great awareness of the various 
social limitations that had impeded the progress of the country-. Yet 
these reforms had not penetrated into the ranks of Indian society. 
While travelling all over India Gandhiji said, “1 have come to realize 
that all the existing agitation is confined to an infinitesimal section 
of our.<people who are really a mere spark in the. vast iiraianent. Crores 
of people of both the sexes live to absolute ignorance of ttiis agitation.” 
Gandhiji wanted women to be atleast aware of their position and the 
actual hardships that they had been undergoing. 

"Our first attempt," he says "should be directed towards 
awakening the minds of as many women as po.ssible, a consciousness 
of their present condition, we can bring home to our women the sad 
realities of their present condition without in die first instance giving 
them any literary education". 

So Gandhiji took up the unfinished task of tlie earlier reformers 
of improving Indian society, parlicurariy that t)f the status of women. 

Gandhiji had the courage and conviction to question even the 
religious grounds on which customs like child mairiages, enforced 
widowhood, the Devadasi system, and illiteracy which were retarding 
the progress of Hindu women were justified. He said "it is inreligion, 
not religion to give religious sanction to a brutal custom like child 
mairiage which is botli moral as well as a physical evil. By 
countenancing sucli customs we recede from God, as well as Swaraj." 

Gandhiji bitterly deplored the treatment and position accorded 
to widows in the Hindu society. He said voluntary widowhood is 
a priceless boon in Hinduism, and enforced widowhood is a curse. 
He pointed out that "no outside imposition can cure Hindu society 
of the enforced widowhood of girls who don't even know what 



36 


Women of Andhra in tlie Freedom Struggle 


marriage is. The reform can come and first by the force of enlightened 
public opinion among the Hindus, and secondly, by parents recognising 
tlie duty of marrying tlieir girl widows. 

Gandhiji felt tliat purdah was not universal in the country. The 
peasant women and the women of ancient India did not observe this; 
yet Its effect among those who followed was disastrous indeed. 
Though this system was not prevalent in Andhra some of the Zamindari 
women who used to observe purdah and seclusion, came out to 
participate in the political struggle. 

There was another unhappy custom in regard to some women 
called as, Devadasis, that was causing great concern to Gandhiji. 
Women in Andhra who belonged to tlie class of Devadasis and 
prostitutes, who were called "fallen sisters" by Gandhiji, were so much 
influenced by Mahatma Gandhi that they not only gave up their 
profession but showed their eagerness to join the mass movement led 
by Gandhiji. They started taking up the honourable living. They 
had really desired to be reformed. An Andlira Devadasi graduate 
Yamini Pumatilakam appealed to Gandhiji thus: "the misery of a whole 
community consigned to a life of prostitution is great, young men here 
are trying their best to root out this evil. But they badly need help 
and guidance. Won't you kindly take up the matter as equally 
important and emergent as the Harijan movement? Please have this 
affair always in a comer of your heart and give it publicity. You 
have not only the Congress but the whole public opinion at your back. 
What the Brothel Bills and the I.P.C. could not do, I am confident 
a word from your mouth would do." 

Thus she realised at a quite tender age, the degrading conditions 
in which she found herself and decided to extricate and emancipate 
herself as well as other families, in her caste. She established an 
oiphanage called Hindu Yuvathi Saranalayam at Madras for sheltering 
young women who wanted to run away from promiscuity to normal 
life. A number of women gave up this degrading profession to join 
her orphanage. 

Gandhiji had suggested ways and methods of solving these 
problems One method was Brahmacharya: According to Gandhiji 
Bralimacharya was a way of life. It was applicable not only to 
unmarried persons but also to married couples. There were men as 
well as women in the Ashram who enjoyed considerable freedom in 
meeting one another. The ideal is that one Ashramite should have 
the same freedom in meeting another as is enjoyed by a son in meeting 




Non-Cooperation Movement 


37 


his mother Therefore women in the Asliram enjoyed full freedom 
Gandhiji tried to prove that Brahmacharya was a solution to tlic 
degrading position of women by starting an Ashram at Sabarmati. In 
this Ashram, persons belonging to boUi sexes were admitted. Men 
were made to honour and respect women. It had a great impact on 
both sexes. Persons belonging to various parts of the country were 
very much influenced by the Sabarmati Ashram So, they too ventured 
to start such Ashrams which were responsible for the emancipation 
of women. In Andhra a number of Ashrams were established at 
Sitanagaram, Chagallu, Nellore and at Kalyan Kavuru in Guntur 
district. 

Tulasamma a freedom fighter in Tenali was greatly inspired 
by Gandhiji's writings on Brahmacharya. Sbe initially- escaped tlie 
unpleasant sexual attention of her husband by proclaiming herself a 
devotee of Gandhiji. Only later, she began to follow the Gandhian 
appeal to political action. 

Gandhiji's theory of Brahmacharya effectively liquidated the 
rationale of existing concepts of marriage and to dial extent liberated 
women from it. Gandhiji's emphasis on Bralimacharya had great 
significance. He never said that people should remain unmarried. 
According to him, they can have children but only in limited number 
as he had already found the need of a planned family. This, he viewed 
both from economic point of view as well as political. If women 
are engaged with many children tliey would hardly have any scope 
to spare any time for the political movement. So, the basic assumption 
clearly was neither men nor women would be free to devote their 
energies to the movement if emotional and psychological disequilibrium 
prevailed as a consequence of the conflict between Uieir private and 
social responsibilities. The Ashram life of Gandhiji proves his 
Brahmacharya practice as an important part of his respect for women. 

The attitude of men towards women was another grave problem 
which Gandhiji had to solve. Many men never wanted their women 
to come forward and participate in tlie movement. So, tlie problem 
was to reform such men to enable women to participate actively in 
the movement. For this, he started tlie Ashrams, in which one of 
the rules is to respect women. On tlie same lines Ashrams in Andlira 
were started which gave facility to women to come forward and move 
on equal basis with men.Some of tlicse Ashrams were: 

1. Pinakini Ashram at Pallepadu in Nellore district started by 

Digumarthi Hanumantha Rao and his wife Butchikxishnamma 

in 1921. 



38 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


2. Ananda Niketan Ashramam at Chagallu founded by Talla 
Pragada Narasimlia Sarma and Jhis wife Viswasundariimma in 
1923. 

3. Gautami Ashramam at Sectanagaram sUirtod in 1924 by 
Dr. D. Subramanyam, whose family including his mother 
Lcikshmi Narasamma were associated with it. 

4. Vinayasramam at Kalyana Kavuru in Guntur district was 
founded in 1933 by Swami Sita Ram, Tummala Basavayya tmd 
his wife Durgamba. 

Another important idea of Gandhi] i was to give economic 
independence to women. So, he foundt his khadi prognunme would 
be most suited in tliis connection. The use of Ichadi was not only 
necessary for die success of the Swadesi programme but was 
imperative for everyone to spin during tlieir leisure hours. Gandhiji 
emphasised that "Swadesi applies to every man, women and child in 
India. It is of a permanent nature. Swadeshi is not to be suspended 
on tlie attainment of Swaraj, which is impossible witliout Swadeshi." 

As a result, a large* number of women took to spinning. They 
had competitions in spinning. Women were able to give the required 
yam for tlie cloth they needed not only for their personal use but also 
for sale. They supplied yam and earned money. It is not the amount 
of money they realised that is significant. It made women feel that 
they could live independently. In every village in Andhra women 
were engaged in spinning, Maganti Annapumamma a great freedom 
fighter of West Godavari district was so much influenced by the khadi 
programme that she never spent a moment without spinning. She had 
changed all her plans of going abroad to join her husband after having 
heard the lectures of Gandhiji and joined the national struggle. She 
wrote to her husband not to forget the motherland even if he were 
to forget her. She urged him to come back to India as the country 
needed his services. When he returned she welcomed him with a kliadi 
dress. In the words of Gandhiji at AICC session, "she was the only 
lady who wore khadi," Thus Gandhiji's appeal to women to support 
tlie men in tlieir family and urge them towards nationalism, reached 
the heart of women. 

Another appeal was to imbibe their children with patriotism. 
They could inculcate the ideas of freedom, self-existence, Swadeshi, 
boycott of foreign goods, non-violence etc. 

There were many ladies who inspired the women to uUce to 
spinning and khadi. Duvvuri Subbammti, who belonged to East 
Godavari district, had urged die ladies not to waste their time but to 


Non-Cooperation Movement 


39 


spin in their leisure hours and provide yam for the production of 
khaddar. She exhorted them to wear khaddar. She asked them to 
realise how much more money they were wasting on foreign cloth 
for fineness and fashion while they forgot to patronise their own skill 
and genius. 

Gandhiji considered woman as personification of knowledge. 
So, he expected every woman to be a teacher to her children. Children 
should be taught about the ideas of nationalism and significance of 
freedom movement. The best teachers according to Gandhiji were 
the mothers and women at home. Women were inspired by these 
ideas. Some of them even went to the extent of starting schools for 
children. Sarada Niketan in Guntur was one such institution. Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma in 1922, assisted and encourgaed her husband to 
start this institution. 

Another interesting feature about the women in Andhra was 
that when Gandhiji asked for donation they came forward and gave 
away all their belongings. As a matter of fact it was believed that 
largest collections were obtained from the women of Andhra. Maganti 
Annapumamma was the first to come forward, Gandhiji wrote "She 
was the first to give up as far as I can remember, all her rich ornaments 
bangles and a heavy gold chain." "Have you got the permission of 
your people? I asked, as she was delivering the ornaments to me.“ 
"My parents do not interfere and object and they let me do as I like." 
She replied. 

The property on which woman has absolute right is, Streedhana. 
According to Yajnavalkya "what is given to a woman by her father, 
mother, husband or brother, or received by her before the nuptial fire, 
is called streedhana. An important feature of Streedhana is that a 
women has absolute right of disposition by gift or by will.“ So, many 
more Andhra women donated their ornaments in this manner to 
Gandhiji when he visited them. They did not care the displeasure 
of their people in this regard. 

The mass movement absorbed and channelised the energies of 
thousands of women who learnt daily political lessons by facing police 
lathi charges and mounting police vans for going to prison enmasse. 

GaiKlhiji wanted to constitute a Shanti Sena to back the 
movement for liberation. He required a number of volunteers for this 
purpose. He expected a large number of women to form this volunteer 
corps. His assessment was correct so far as the Andhra women were 
concerned. When he launched the Non-Cooperation Movement, his 
appeal to join Indian National Congress had brought forth an amazing 


40 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

response. Women flocked to the organisation and threw themselves 
whole-heartedly into its work. Their courage and energy contributed 
a great deal to the strength of die Congress. The women had formed 
a special organisation of their own within the Congress called the 
Desh-Sevikas and pledged themselves to non-violent methods of 
popularising social reforms. These women were called upon by 
Gandhiji to undertake the difficult task of picketing foreign cloth and 
liquor shops" a task carried through with conspicuous devotion and 
peaceful methods. So, in some places both the police and the congress 
depended on women to nniaintain order. 

The Satyagraha movement which was inaugurated by Gandhiji 
was such that women could not sit and watch the battle between the 
Government and the peopl. So a quick response was made to the call 
of Mahatma Gandhi. The women propagated the use of khadi and 
faced even court arrest and jail. Though the number of women arrested 
was very small, yet a beginning was made and an example was set 
to prove that women would not hesitate to face the most difficult 
situations. 

After the AfCC meeting, Gandhi undertook a tour of some of 
the coastal Andhra districts and addressed meetings at Kakinada, 
Rajamundry, Eluru, Masulipamam, Chirala, Nellore and other places. 
He made it a point to make a special appeal to women. As a result 
they parted with their costly clothing, gifted away their gold ornaments 
to TUak Swaraj Fund and took to khaddar and spinning. Several of 
them came out fi-om seclusion and took a prcaninent part in the public 
life of the country. This marked a new stage in the history of the 
emancipation of women. 

Andhra had been in the vanguard of the freedom movement 
and women of this area did not lose any time and jumped into the 
field. When the government firmly decided to auction their properties, 
there were no body to buy them. The women happily handed over 
the household articles to the police and said that they would buy 
Swarajya Lakshmi. In this context, mention should be made of 
Obamma. 

The Chirala-Perala Struggle 

The Chirala-Perala struggle under the leadership of Andhra 
Ratna Duggirala Gopala Krishnayya was a part of the campaign for 
the boycott of municipalities. In the year 1919 the Government of 
Madras decided to convert Chirala-Perala into separate municipalities. 
The villagers did not like the idea as it raised the tax. The population 
of these villages was weavers whose income was very low. So, they 




Non-Cooperation Movement 


41 


made a representation to the Governor of Madras, but of no avail. 
Just then Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya entered the arena to take up 
the cause of the Chirala people. 

He told them not to pay taxes. The Government forcibly tried 
to collect taxes by putting property to auction. But no bidders came 
forward. So, a dozen persons including an aged woman by name 
Ravuri Alivelu Manga Tayaramma perhaps the first lady to go to jail 
in the whole of India, were imprisoned for their refusal to pay the 
taxes. Duggirala Gopala Krishnayya on the advice of Gandhiji asked 
to evacuate the town. The people, permeated by the spirit of Non- 
cooperation, readily responded to the call of Gopala Krishnayya to 
evacuate their homes and to settle down on the outskirts of the villages, 
Chirala and Perala named as Ramnagar, in thatched huts. 13,572 
villagers out of a total population of 15,326 evacuated their homes 
on the midnight of April 25th 1921. It was an inspiring sight to see 
the illiterate and rustic people of Chirala and Perala including women 
determined with the indomitable will to resist unwanted forcible 
taxation. The Hindu correspondent D.S.R. Rao who visited the place 
wrote "it was a sight to watch them and their furniture move from 
their old homes to their new pamasalas." This reminded Dr. Pattabhi 
Seetaramaiah of the earlier Hijrats of the Muslims of Sind into 
Afghanistan. The Chirala people spent the following eleven mon^s 
in the new town of Ramnagar. The difficulties involved in the people 
getting accustomed themselves to a strange new life did not in any 
way weaken thejr will. The people did not mind either tire extremes 
of weather or the harrasmepts of Government officials. When in 
February 1922, the Civil Disobedience Movement was suspended, the 
eleven months of exile also came to an end. 

Defiance of Forest Rules 

Another form of the Non-cooperation Movement was defiance 
of forest rules and the non-payment of grazing fees called Pullari in 
Palnadu. Here the people suffered from a number of grievances 
relating to the administration of forests. People demanded permission 
to cut wood for fuel, for making agricultural impliments for the cutting 
and removal of yapi leaves in the hot weather and for reduction of 
fee for cow grazing. The people of Palnadu belonging to the villages 
of Macherla, Veldurti, Jattipalem, Srigiripadu, Ramapuram, 
Minchalapadu, Nadipalem etc. came under the influence of the Non- 
cooperators and they developed a defiant attitude towards the forest 
authorities. At Nadipalem when the forest guards wanted to impound 
about 100 buffaloes, tlie villagers led by a young woman attacked 



42 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


the ranger and his party and brought back the cattle In Srigiripadu 
about seven hundred cattle were impounded. The people got so angry 
at this act of the Government that they decided upon the scx:ial boycott 
of officials of not only the Forest Department but also ot till die local 
offices. They announced by the beat of drums in the village that 
no washer woman or barber would serve tliem. Similar instances had 
happend at several villages when the officials assisted by the armed 
reserve police conducted a raid in mulpur forest near Minchalapadu 
and captured three hundred cattle. The villagers consisting of two to 
three hundred men and women tried to rescue the cattle by hurling 
stones at the police guards and by shouting and whistling so that the 
cattle might be frightened away. The police opened fire to disperse 
the crowd, during the course of which their leader Kanneganti 
Hanumanthu along with three others were shot dead. The next day, 
the police arrested twenty eight men and nine women. 

The social boycott of the officials was very effective. On the 
whole the people of Palnadu saw that the forest laws became 
inoperative in their Taluq. Seeing the violent turn that the forest 
Satyagraha was taking, the Andhra Provincial Congress Committee 
deputed Unnava Lakshminarayana and Madabushi Vedanta 
Lakshminarasimhachari to enquire into the grievances of the people 
of Palnadu. The Collector has sentenced them for not furnishing 
security for good behaviour. This led to a Hartal in Guntur. Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma and Yamini Pumatilakam took an active part in 
organising and making the Hartal a complete success. Thus came 
to an end the defiance of forest rules in Palnadu. Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma was personally responsible for making women of 
Guntur to participate in all the Congress compaigns. She was their 
undisputed leader. 

The No-Tax Campaign and the Pedanandipadu Satyagraha. 

Although the attempt to launch a no-tax campaign was made 
in the three distircts of Guntur, Krishna and Godavari, it was not so 
effectively organised in the latter two districts as in Guntur. Even 
here it was more effective in Pedanandipadu firka of Bapatla Taluk 
than elsewhere. It achieved almost complete success as by the time 
it was called off in 1922, not even five percent of the total tax demand 
was collected. Lord Willington, then Governor of Madras is reported 
to have said later that it shook the British Empire in India to its very 
roots. The ryots were more enthusiastic than the leaders. Their idea 
was that as a result of non-payment of taxes, Government would face 
financial crisis and would come down to terms with the nationalist 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


43 


demands. It was in this spirit that they started the movement in 
Pedanandipadu and other areas ot Guntur. It drew not only the 
country's wide attention but even the attenuon of the British members 
of Parliament. 

The leaders like Konda Venkatappayya, Gollapudi Sitarama 
Sastry, Unnava Lakshminarayana and others carried on the campaign 
in favour ol the No-Tax campaign On account of their efforts several 
village officers resigned. The Congress leaders raised a large number 
of volunteers known as the Santi Sena or the peace army to go round 
the countryside not only to preach the creed of non-violence but also 
to incite the people not to pay the taxes. The effectiveness of their 
propaganda could be seen from tlie fact ‘that when Rutherford, die 
Additional District Magistrate of Guntur visited the Pedanandipadu 
firka, none of the villagers would come forward to tell him whether 
he was actually in tlie village of Pedanandipadu or where the special 
troops were stationed. When the Government tried to seize and auction 
their property, the villagers wiped off the house numbers and the 
houses'Were found empty. The leader of this No-Tax campaign was 
Parvataneni Veerayya Choudari who was popularly known as (he 
"Andhra Shivaji". The Committee apptiinted by tlie Congress leaders- 
Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao, Tanguturi Prakasam and Dendu Narayana 
Raju visited Pedanandipadu and got impressed by the manner in which 
the No-Tax campaign was going on. But (lie No-Tax campaign was 
suspended on the advice of Gandhiji. 

Spread of Non-cooperation Movement was described by Andhra 
Patiika of August 17th, 1921, as follows.; The people of Palnad botli 
Hindus and Muslims showed their boldness in defying laws and 
sacrifices they made in tliis movement. At Guntur, Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma and wife of Konda Venkatappayya expressed their 
happiness when their husbands were arrested. Hundreds of women 
led the chariot of Swaraj; thousands of people expre.ssed their 
happiness in defying laws; many more lawyers left the courts 
entliusiastically to take part in the Non-cooperation Movement. Tlius, 
the whole of Guntur district became active and proved its capability 
in the freedom struggle. 

Konda Venkatappayya also acknowledged the .same and gradu- 
ally tlie movement spread to otlier parts of Andhra i.e. to Rayalaseema. 

Tlie Non -cooperation Movement brought about an awakening 
of tlie masses. Earlier die political consciousness was confined to 
die small minority of die educated classes. Now it became more 
widespread. Not only the uneducated but even die unsophisticated 



44 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


village people began to feel that Swaraj was the only remedy for die 
ills from which they sullered. It was a beginning ol' women's 
pcirticipation. The women were deeply influenced. It was a first and 
a necessary step in die ultimate achievement of freedom. The women 
proved that widioul their coc:)peration and participatiiin, die result could 
not be achieved. The movement spread even to villages. As TcnduDcar, 
die biographer of Gandhiji puts it, "Swaraj did not dawn, but die mind 
in chains was set free". Even Government of India had to acknowledge 
iliat Mr. Giindhi’s intensive movement during die ye^irs 1921 and 1922 
had diffused far and wide among die classes, previously oblivious to 
political consideration. A strong negative patriotism born of race 
hatred of die foreigner had aroused in less prosperous classes both 
in the town and die countryside certain aspects of the existing political 
situation. 

The Kakinada Congress 

The hosting of tiie AICC session in 1923 by die district people 
constitute die high watermark of tiie participation of die people of 
tlie area in the Nationalist Movement. The significance of die AICC 
at Kakinada was tliat a number of women came forward and rendered 
tlieir services as office bearers, volunteers and other workers. Duvvuri 
Subbamma was one of the Chairpersons of die Reception Committee. 
It was in diis session tliat she was conferred die title "Desabandhavi". 
Vedantam Kamala Devi encouraged a number of women and she was 
responsible for the participation of women in the AICC session at 
Kakinada. Again it was in diis session tliat young Durgabai became 
die centre of attraction as a young volunteer among diousands of 
Congress workers who attended the session. 

Maganli Annapurna was the captain of lady volunteers at 
Kakinada and many have described her in glowing terms for die 
wonderful work she had done at diat time, Unnava LiiJkshmibayaninia 
was personally responsible for making women of Guntur piiriicipate 
in all die Congress campaigns. She was dieir undisputed leader. 

Gandhiji in his 'Young India' dated 25-8-1921 expressed his 
views about die Chirala-Perala Satyagraha. He said the pxiople decided 
on dieir own the future to which diey w^ould abide and beciime ideal 
to the entire country. 

The Ediloriid ol Krishna Patrika pniised tind encouraged die 
daring piirticipation of die people. 

The Krishna Patrika of (October 25di. 1922 described iuid 
iiarratcil die episode related to the death of Kannegiuiti Haiiumanlhu 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


45 


and how people constructed a tomb on which the story was carved. 

Gandhiji in his 'Young India' pnused the bold endeavour and 
daringness ot die people ol Pedanandipadu 

The personal diary of Parvataneni Veerayya Choudiu-i reveals 
the entire episode. The Firka Congress also in iLs report expressed 
its views on tlie episode. 

The Hindu of February lltli, 1922 gave Uie details of Congress 
Committee's report regarding die Non-cooperation Movement. 

Gandhiji's letters, Desabhakta's autobiography and Pattabalii’s 
History of Indian National Congress, die Andhra Patrika of 17th 
August 1921, the Ugadi Sanchika of die same paper of 1922-23 and 
opinions expressed by eminent leaders like T. Prakasam Pantulu and 
others stand as a testimony to this Cliirala-Perala Satyagndia. 

A eighty year old lady leased die police who happend to be 
the Indians saying dial she has nothing at home except a few pots 
and the charka, and if they need money they should allow her to spin 
to earn some money. 

One of the houses of the village officers who resigned his job 
was also attacked by die police. Lakslmii, his wife gtive a big ve.s.sel 
to them and said if they wanted more dicy could take die Mangala.sutra, 
the wedlock from her neck. What could the police do'.^ They left 
the house. 

The Neill Satyagraha 

The Neill Satyagraha was launched to compel die Madras 
Government to remove the statue of Genend Neill in 1923. He was 
responsible for brutal acts of cruelty at the time of die great rebellion 
of 1857. The people resented the pre.sence of die statue of such a 
person in a prominent place in the city. Brahniajosyula Lakshmi- 
narasamma and Duvvuru Subbiunma exerted the people to join the 
agitaiton for die removal of Neill’s statue. Lak.shmi Narastimma was 
the mother of the famous freedtim fighter Dr. B. Subnimaiiyam of 
Sitanagaram Ashram. She, in a public meeting held at Madra.s said 
that she made up her mind not to return from Madras until die statue 
was removed from that place. She lurdier said that it was her sincere 
prayer to God to throw upon an opportunity to her whereby she could 
lay down her life in the cause of die motherland. The spirit of 
enthusiasm in Lakslimmarasamma at her advanced age of seventy five 
is wortliy of appreciation. 

A public meeting was held at Rtijidimundry in honour of the 
two ladies who were in the first batch of Satyagralia. 



46 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Biographies of Women who participated in Non Co- 
operation Movement 
EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT 

Duvvuri Subbamma 

Duvvuri Subbamma was one of the earliest political leaders and 
social reformers among women, in Andhra Pradesh. She was bom 
in Draksharamam in Ramachandrapuram Taluk of East Godavari 
district in 1880, to Malladi Subbavadhani. Duvvuri Venkayya her 
husband was poor and practically lived on alms. His death after ten 
years of marriage left her completely stranded, A childless young 
widow with a strong determination and intelligence, she sunnounted 
all difficulties and became one of the front rank political leaders from 
1920-1947. 

She is an exception to the movement not only in the history 
of Andhra but also in the national history of India where a young 
widow not caring for any of the restrictions imposed on women in 
those days, came out in public and participated actively in the 
movement. The greatest surprise was that nobody made any adverse 
comment on her activities. On the other hand, they gave her the 
maximum encouragement with great respect. This was perhaps due 
to her scholarship, spirit of sacrifice, her family background, and 
appreciation she had received in public from Mahatma Gandhi. Andhra 
always gave greatest respect to literary persons. So it was no wonder 
that Duvvuri Subbamma had that support from the people on account 
of her literary talent. 

She was first influenced by Tirupathi Venkata Sastri, from 
whom she studied all epics. Then Gandhiji's call to serve the nation 
just a few months after her husband's death dragged her into politics. 
She felt that service to man is service to God. Subsequently, she 
was influenced and encouraged by Bulusu Sambamurthi. 

She entered political life during the Non-Cooperation Move- 
ment and remained a freedom fighter till 1947. She took an active 
part in Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India Movements. On all tlie tlirec 
occasions, she toured the circar districts and gave hundreds of lectures. 
She worked along with Ponaka Kanakamma and Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma. She attended tlte Kakinada Session under Tanguturi 
R-akasam Pantulu and supported the resolution of complete Indepen- 
dence introduced by B. Sambamurthi. Her lectures condemning the 
British rule and demanding independence were so revolutionary and 
inflammatory that she had to face harsh treatment at the hands of the 


Non-Cooperation Movement 


47 


police. Her speech in Nellore, in 1921, was a highly emotional one. 
She was the first woman leader in Andhra to be sentenced to R.I. 
for one year on 4-4-1922. The District Collector G.T.H. Brecon 
hesitated to imprison her for some hme. When the Government tried 
to her say sorry, to get out of the jail, she bluntly refused to 

apologize. 

When she was released from the jail, a unique reception was 
accorded to this Andhra lady patriot under the presidentship of Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma of Guntur by Andhra Working Committee. A huge 
public meeting of about 8,000 people was held in the Town Hall 
premises. The whole spectacle of the ladies procession and the meeting 
revived the spirit of Non-cooperation Movement of 1921. A provincial 
welcome address was presented by T. Prakasam, president of the PCC, 
and several addresses were presented and speeches were made. She 
was presented with a purse of Rs. 116/- collected on the spot. 

Soon after her release from the jail at 10.00 A.M. on March 
6lh 1923, the Hindu described Subbamma as one of tlie self- 
sacrificing and most sincere of India's daughters. It further stated that 
she is much reduced but yet she smiles most cheerfully. Non- 
cooperators far and near, about fifty of both the sexes greeted her 
at the jail gates, and presented a garland of Rudrakshas. 

She was given the dtle of "Desabhandhavi" by the people of 
Godavari district in recognition of her selfless and dedicated services. 
She went house to house to sell khaddar, carrying a heavy load on 
her shoulders. 

Apart from active participation in the Congress movements, 
Subbamma opened a ladies wing of the provincial Congress in January 
1922. The first conference was held at Kakinada in which she exhorted 
the women to produce and wear khadi. In April, charkas were supplied 
freely and five rooms were set apart in the town. The second 
conference, convened on 26th May 1925 at Pativela in East Godavari 
District was presided over by Subbamma. 

She was a member of AICC for 14 years continuously. She 
attended every session of AICC and also of Pradesh Congress as a 
member of Andhra Maha Sabha. 

One of the most significant features of the AICC .session at 
Kakinada was that a number of women came forward and rendered 
their services as office bearers, volunteers and others as workers. For 
example Duvvuri Subbamma who entered the freedom struggle during 
the Non-cooperation Movement and went to jail in that connection, 
again started her activities in freedom struggle during the AICC session 



48 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


at Kakinada She was one of llie Vice-chairmen of the Reception 
Committee. 

Duvvuri Subbamma showed keen interest throughout her life 
in women's welfare and their participation in public affairs. In 1924 
she started a school for women called "Sanatana Streevidyalaya", at 
Raj am undry, to which admission was reserved for widows only. She 
strongly advocated national education and development of cottage 
industries. At the time of Godavari floods, she took an active part 
in the relief operations. 

She was deeply religious and lived a saintly life even when 
she was in the midst of the Freedom Movement. She was refined 
and polished in manners and was one of the most effective speakers 
of her times. She held progressive views on caste, untouchability and 
status of women although she was orthodox in religious matters. In 
public life she was always bold, simple, and straight forward. The 
police always had great respect for her. 

After independence she retired from politics. She was given 
a pension of Rs. 100/- per month by the Government. As an ardent 
freedom fighter and a devoted Gandhian, she won laurels from 
Gandhiji. She refused to take medicine though ailing, when she learnt 
about the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. She expired in Rajamundry on 
May 31, 1964. 

Sudarsini, a local newssheet, said, "we congratulate Smt. 
Subbammagaru for her participation and courage to go to jail. We 
(the women) have greater tenacity of purpose than men. We hope 
that Andhra women will adopt the Swadesi atleast now as they have 
heard of the herosim and conviction of Subbamma.” 

Vedantam Kamala Devi 

She was another prominent lady of this period from East 
Godavari district. She was a social and political worker who responded 
to the call of Gandhiji. She was bom on 5 May 1897 at Nandalur, 
Rajampet Taluk,. Cuddapah district. Her parents were Pratapgiri 
Gopalakrishnayya and Bhramaramba. She was the wife of Dr. 
Vedantam Venkata Krishnayya. She studied English and Bengali at 
Calcutta She responded to the call of Gandhiji in 1920 and plunged 
into the Non-Cooperation Movement. She was the lady commandant 
of the Kakinada Congress session in 1923, and president of Women’s 
Conference, Anantapur in 1926. She encouraged a number of women 
and was responsible for the participation of women in the AICC 
.session at Kakinda. She toured all over Andhra and propagated khadi 
and collected money for the Tilak Swaraj Fund. She also derived 


Non-Cooperation Movement 


49 


her inspiration from her husband who was the President of City 
Congress Committee and Secretary of the Hariiana Seva Sangh. and 
worked for the abolition of untouchability. He was the leader ol a 
medical troop. She propagated boycott of foreign clotli and otlier 
goods and took up khadi hawking and spinning. When All India Non- 
cooperation Committe visited Samarlakot to collect people’s opinion, 
she gave tlie report to them, despite her personal cnsis on account 
of the loss of her ,Swarajyam. 

Thus Vedantam Kamala Devi’s valuable contribuuon to tlie 
National Movement, inspite of her domestic problems needs to be 
noted. The couple, besides devoting their services to the freedom 
struggle, also encouraged tlieir family members to take part in die 
AICC session. With die encouragement ol Kamaladevi, her modier 
and children all worked as volunteers in the Kakinada session. 
Durgabai Deshmukh 

The youngest among the women freedom fighters during die 
Non-cooperation Movement was Durgabai (Deshmukli), wht) rendered 
valuable service in fulfilment of the work of her great predecessors 
like Dr. Besant, Margaret Cousins, and odiers. A bom tirganiser, a 
tireless worker, and a valiant fighter for die rights of wtimen. she 
started her career of selfless .sacrifice at die age of eleven. The visit 
of Gandhiji to the district brought a turning point in die life of 
Durgabai. It laid the foundation for her future role in the freedom 
stmggle. She was highly influenced by Bapu and wanted to .sliiu'e 
her feelings about Mahatma to inspire die people who were socially 
neglected. At that tender age, she arranged a meeting of Devadasis 
and Muslim women with Gandhiji on a condition of raising Rs. 5,(X)0/ 
- for Congress in K^inada. The Devadasis responded spontaneously 
the moment they saw the Mahatma. It was widi die help of these 
Devadasis that young Durgabai could raise a purse of Rs. 25,000/- 
in addition to the amount promised earlier for .sparing Gandliiji for 
5 minutes. "She translated Gandhi’s speech in Telugu which lasted 
for more than half an hour. Gandhiji expressed his happiness by saying 
that it was this kind of gathering that he liked to address, as he 
considered the abolition of Devadasi system and reform lunong Muslim 
women as the best constructive programmes for the emancipation ol 
women. From that time she became die translator of Gandhiji's 
speeches. 

It was in die Kakinada AICC session that young Durgabai 
became die centre of attraction as a young volunteer tiniong diousands 
of Congress workers diat attended die session. 



50 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Lakshmi Narasmma 

The establishment ol the Gautami Saiyagraha Ashram at 
Seettmagram on the model ot Sabtirmatln Ashrtun was one ol die 
constructive programmes til November 1924. The lounder of tins 
Ashram was Dr. Bralimajosyula Subnimanyam wht) cturied on tlie 
constructive programme in tlie Asltram. Besides the prtiduction ol 
kliaddar some of tlie inmates, e.specially ladies, used to sell khaddar 
by going round the villages. Among such ladies mention should be 
made of Laksiiminarasamma, the motlier of Dr. Subramanyam At 
her advanced age, with great enthusiasm, she sold khaddar in tlie 
surrounding villages. She attracted a number ol customers and 
increased tlie sales of kliaddar. She also tixik part in Neill Satyagralia 
and other movements. 

Anotlier lady who started her political career tlirough ctinstruc- 
tive programme was Peddada Kameeswaramma. whose details are 
given under Salt Satyagralia Movement. 

GUNTUR DISTRICT 

Unnava Lakshmibayamma 

From Guntur District we find a dozen women who participated 
in the Non-cooperation Movement in response to the call of Gandhiji. 
Prominent among tliem was Unnava Lakshmibayamma. 

She was bom in Aminabad, Sattenapalli Taluk of Guntur 
district. Her father was Nadempalli Sitaramayya. and husband Unnava 
Lakshminarayana who was a great social reformer. 

The years 1910 and 1911 marked significant stages in the 
development of her career. The first stage when she carved a path 
by understanding social reform activity, the second when she entered 
politics at provincial level by joining the movement for a separate 
Andhra Province and tlie third when she rose to tlie level of national 
politics by entering Non-cooperation Movement under Gandhiji. Her 
association with politics began much earlier when she attended tlie 
first Andhra Raslitra Sabha held at Bapatla in 1913. 

She assisted her husband in all his activities. He was a 
member of Andhra Maha Sabha and worked with Kandukuri 
Veeresalingam Pantulu. His political career which began from 
Vandemataram Movement naturally influenced Ins wife who suu-ted 
taking part in the Non-cooperation Movement. 

She assisted her husband in establishing "Sarada Niketan" an 
educational centre fox girls in 1922, tlirough which she propagated 
widow marriages. Political awareness among die women was brought 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


51 


about by this institution Gandhiji used to pay a regular visit to tins 
institution whenever he came to Andlira 

Earlier to this tlie Unnava couple started a widowhome at 
Guntur in 1902 They celebrated a number ot widow marriages. They 
were invited by Veeresalingam Pantulu to Rajamundry to look after 
tlie widow home tliere They stayed in Rajamundry for sometime 
and returned to Guntur in 1908 

From 1914, there were breezes of freedom all over the land. 
The Unnava couple were inspired by Balgangadhar Tilak whom they 
considered as their political guru. Along witli the Achanta couple 
Achanta Rukmini and Achanta Lakshmipathi, the Unnava couple used 
to meet at Potlapudi (in Nellore district) and discuss about indepen- 
dence and separate Andhra state formation. This meeting at Potlapudi 
was organised by Ponaka Kanakamma. It was through this institution 
that she started training the women to stand on their legs and 
motivated them to participate in the- Freedom Movement. 

Bala Nagu, Avula 

Another women from Guntur district was Bala Nagu who took 
part in the Non-cooperation Movement in response to the call of 
Mahatma Gandhi. She was convicted on 6-4-1922 and suffered 
imprisonment in the Rajamundry central jail. She was the resident 
of Jangameswaram of Palnadu Taluk. 

I..akshmikantam, Vedantam 

Lakshmikantam was the resident of Koditadiparru in Tenali 
Taluk. She took part in Non-cooperation Movement and was sentenced 
on 2-2-1922 to one year R.I., and sent to the Rajamundry jail, for 
internment. 

Venkamtna, Kanchanapalli 

A resident of Palnadu, she participated in die Non-cooperation 
Movement and was sentenced on 6-4-1922 to four months R.I. and 
served the period of imprisonment in the Rajamundry jail. 

Some women of this period from Guntur district participated 
in the Palnadu Satyagraha. Among them were; 

Ademma, Kota 

Ademma was a resident of Palnadu Taluk. She was fined 
Rs. 75/- for defying tlie Forest Laws during the Palnadu Forest, 
Satyagraha of 1921-1922. The other women who participated in die 
Palnad Satyagralia were Balamma Erradarla. Kotamma Miriyala, 
Kotamma Polasala, Mangiunma Miriyala. They were all fined for 



52 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom vStruggle 


defying tlie toresi laws as a part ot tlic Non-coopcralion Movement. 
Nagamma, Pitta 

Nagamma was also a resident ot Palnad Taluk. She was 
sentenced to one montli impn.sonment tor detymg the forest Satyagralia 
of 1921-1922. 

Ramamma, Enugula 

Ramamma was a resident of Palnadu Taluk. She was fined 
Rs. 75/- for defying die forest laws during the Palnadu Forest 
Satyagraha of 1921-1922. 

Venkamma, Konda 

Venkammma was a resident of Palnad Taluk. She was fined 
Rs. 75/- for defying the forest laws during the Palnadu Forest 
Satyagraha of 1921-1922. 

KRISHNA DISTRICT 

Anantaramayya Gayatri 

Gayatri was a resident of Vuyyuru in Gannavaram taluk. She 
was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment and fined Rs. 50/- during 
the Non-cooperation Movement. 

Manikyamba, Boppana 

Manikyamba was a resident of Machilipatnam; She took part 
as a Congress worker since 1920. and collected funds for Tilak Swaraj 
Fund. She carried out all the five boycots enunciated by Gandhiji 
effecitvely. She was the sister of Maganti Bapineedu of West Godavari 
district. She was interested in social reforms and used to write articles 
on social evils and need for reforms in Hindu Sundari. She became 
panicky and was mentally upset when .she heard the news of the arrest 
of Gandhiji. She underwent treatment in the mental hospital for 
sometime. She whole-heartedly followed and propagated Gandhian 
principles and spinning on Charka. 

Radha Nilachalan Pasupulati 

Radha was a resident of Nuzvid. She participated in the Non- 
cooperation Movement on 20-8-1921. She was sentenced for four 
months R.I. in tlie Rajamundry Central Jail. 

Ramakrishnamma, Chittavarjula 

She was a resident of Machilipatnam. She gave up studies at 
the Nellore College dunng die Non-cooperation Movement of 1921- 
1922. 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


53 


NELLORE DISTRICT 

Ponaka Kanakamma 

Kanakamma was another great public character in tlie elder 
hierarchy of tlie Nellore Congress She was first a social worker and 
then started her public life in Nellore. 

This great lady of Nellore was bom in 1896. She was the 
daughter of Marupuru Konda Reddy and wife of Subbarami Reddy. 

She was very acuve in all tlie movements from 1920 onwards 
and earlier. She had the political background from Vandemataram 
Movement. The Bengali leader Bipinchandra Pal stayed in her house 
during his visit to Andhra. She was a social reformer and was 
described as a brilliant star of Nellore. She was tlie first lady president 
of the Nellore Provincial Congress Committee. She worked as a co- 
adjutor to the Congress leaders of those days. 

She started a society at Potlapudi by name "Sujana Ranjam 
Samaj" and a library by name "Vivekananda Library" in 1913-14. Tlie 
Samaj dedicated its services for tlie poor and tlie needy. It helped 
in fighting diseases like cholera, .smallpox and influenza which ravaged 
the whole district. Medicines were supplied and lessons on hygiene 
and cleanliness were given to the citizens. Gradually this institution 
developed a branch library named after Gokhale at Kotturi. At the 
anniversary celebrations of tlie Samaj during 1916-17 eminent per- 
sonalities like Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu, Chilakamarthi 
Lakshmi Narasimham, Dr. Achanta Lakshmipathi, Rukmini 
Lakshmipathi, Ayyadevara Kaleswara Rao and others graced the 
occasion. 

At the Andhra conference in Nellore, there was a special session 
for women to encourage them in taking active part in political affairs. 
A house was rented for this purpose and Charkas were purchased to 
popularise spinning. Ramabayamma, wife of Kasinathuni Negeswara 
Rao Pantulu, presided over the occasion. Rayaprolu Subba Rao, and 
G. Hari Sarvotham Rao were also present on the occasion. This was 
the first occasion when Kanakamma cast away her "purdah" and 
actively participated in a public function. 

The Home Rule Movement was at its hectic phase at that time. 
Dr. Besant sent Ranganath Mudaliyar who came to Nellore to enlist 
members for the movement. Tilak sponsored a revolutionary move- 
ment enlisting eighty volunteers. Potlapudi became the centre for 
propagation. Kanakamma prepared fertile ground for Gandhiji. They 
all followed non-violence, vegetarian food, charka .spinning, and 



54 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


boycotted foreign goods She and her tamily members used to spin 
fine yam which was sent to Giuidhip A swadesi handloom centre 
was started to develop Khadi movement 

Kanakamma sold away all her ornaments imd started Pinakini 
Ashram at Pallepadu which was inaugurated by Gandhiji. From 1920 
onwards she developed contacts witli Gandhiji She suirted Kasturidevi 
Vidyalayam at Nellore in 1923.which was inaugurated by Prakasam 
Pantulu. Gandhiji laid foundations for the buildings of tlie school 
in 1929, Thus her contribution towards national education resulted 
in the form of a school. She also started Kasturidevi Industrial School 
in which training was given in spinning, weaving, printing, embroidery 
and otlier crafts as well as teacher training, to let tlie women earn 
their own living. But the Kasturba School had to be temporarily closed 
due to paucity of funds. However it was reopened with the name 
Kasturba National High School on 17-6-1944. TUckavarapu Rami 
Reddy and Bezawada Gopala Reddy helped the school through 
contributions and donations. A.C. Subba Reddy donated land for 
housing tlie Kasturba Industrial School and Durgabai Deshmukli 
granted Rs. 15,000/- to the institution on behalf of tlie Social Welfare 
Board. 

Kanakamma was a writer in Telugu, and used to write articles 
in "Gruhalakshmi" and "Hindu Sundari." She was the disciple of 
Ramana Maharshi and wrote Sri Ramana Brahmanjali. She met 
Dronamraju Lakshmibayamma, who was also a scholar, writer, and 
participant in the Freedom Movement. Both came to a Ashram to 
console themselves for the loss of their children. Both combinedly 
started writing many poems and books and translated Bhagavadgita. 
They came to be known as twin poetesses. 

Kanakamma's family used to finance secret publications like 
"the Indian War of Independence (in Telugu) by Chaturvedula 
Rangaiah, "Swapna Prayanam" by Deepala Pitchayya and D. Rami 
Reddy's "Matrusatakam" which were confiscated by the Government 
before they could get circulated. 

Paturi Balasaraswathamma 

Bom in 1900, Paturi Balasaraswathamma was the wife of Paturi 
Subbaramayya and a resident of Nellore. Prior to 1920, her husband 
had connections with the terrorist movements. She too was associated 
with the Revolutionary Movement for sometime. But the couple 
responded to the call ot Gandhiji and participated in the Non- 
cooperation Movement. The couple also ran a weekly newspaper 
"Simhapuri” which narrated the various events ol the Freedom 



Non-Cooperation Movement 


55 


Struggle She underwent impnsonmenl on two occasions during tlic 
1930-1932 Civil Disobedience Movement Anollier monthly magazine 
"Sasi" in Telugu was also run for sometime She was a member ol 
Municipal Council ol Nellore She died on 14tli September 1975 

Oruganti Mahalakshmamma 

Anotlier great lady Irom Nellore district was Crugnati 
Malialakshmamma whose contribution to Irecdom struggle was worth 
recording. She was bom in 1885 at Vijayawada but was a resident 
of Kavali. She was the daughter ol Thumulum Sivakamayya and wife 
of Oruganti Venkatasubbayya The whole family was noted lor their 
contribuuon to tlie National Movement Malialakshmamma having 
bom in a respectable family and entered by marriage even a more 
affluent family made considerable contribution to tlie National Struggle. 
In 1921 she took a prominent ptirt in tlie Nagara Sankirlana which 
formed a daily feature of Congress activities. During these yetirs she 
was busy in enlisting Congress members, collecting foreign cloth for 
consuming it to tlie flames, and carrying on house to house propagiuida. 
She was very active in collecting money and rice lor Kasturiba Girls 
High School, a nationalistic institution founded in 1923, by Uie 
energetic, enterprising and patriotic lady Ponaka Kanakamma. The 
school became defunct for sometime, rose again from its tishes imd 
IS now in full bloom with its imposing buildings and hostel. In 
connection witli prohibition, Malialak.shmtimma toured villages m tlie 
district lectunng and appealing to die intending bidders to de.sist. 

Influenced by her husband, she gave up foreign cloth and started 
wearing swadcshi hiuidloom. Khadi was unknown at Unit lime as there 
was no influence of Gimdhiji who was in South Africa. It was Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak who developed boycotting foreign goods and using 
Swadesi. Malialakshmamma not only wore Swadesi cloUi but al.so 
started a shop which gave livclihixid to die weavers. 

The Bengal division had its impact deeply on her. She started 
propagating the National Movement Uirough singing patriotic songs 
early in die morning in processions. .She e.stabh.shcd a Stree Samajtuii 
in 1910 at Kavali. Working for die cau.se of women, dial too in a 
small village, in die first decade of 1900 was really creditable. She 
also started a school in her house. 

Mtilialakshmamnia was broadminded. .She not only piipularised 
social reforms like widow marriages but al.so got her third son who 
was a scholar in Kasi Vidyapeet married to a child widow. She was 
least concerned about excommunication. 

In 1917 Venkatasubbayya was fed up with the barrister job and 



56 


Wt)mcn c)t Andhra la the Freedom .SlruuLde 


decided to serve the nation Hence his tamily mijirated to Ncllore 
where being inlluenced by Dr Annie Besant establisiieil a Home Rule 
League. MalitUak.shmamma wore a Home Rule badge and propagated 
It Probably she wa.s the sole women participant m tlic Home Rule 
Movement from Andhra 

She started Women's Congress at Nelkire in 1921 w'lth Ptniaka 
Kanakamma She responded to Gtuidhiji’s call in 1921 and came to 
tlie forefront. She toured villages like Yellaipalem tutd Butclureddipalem 
along witli other women Tikkavarupu Sudtirsanamma and Kandadtu 
Yatliirajamma to propagate Kliadi and anti -liquor campaign. Certainly 
it had Its impact on tlie revenue of the government. 

The whole family turned to wearing kliadi and spinning. Their 
third daughter Mytreyi won a gold medal for tine spinning. The 
Swadesi handloom shop at Kavali was replaced by kliadi clotli. She 
conducted house to house kliadi sale. She also did great service during 
crisis occasions like die cyclone of 1927 in Nellore and cholera tuid 
fire accident at Kavali in 1928. 

Tikkavarapu Sudarsanamma 

She was a resident of Nellore and wife of Tikkavtirapu Rtinii 
Reddy. She orgtmised Non-cooperation Movement in Nellore district. 
Her husband Rami Reddy inspired her in taking pjirt in various 
activities. When her husband went to jail in 1921 she went from house 
to house collecting foreign cloth and held bonfires in the streets of 
Nellore. She also participated in the picketting of die liquor shops. 
She also worked for the upliftment of the harijans. She died in 1936. 
Kandadai Yathirajanuna 

She was a resident of Nellore and wife of Srinivasan alias 
Doraiswami Iyengar. She was fined Rs. 50/- for her pro-Congress 
propaganda while her husband was in jail during die Non-cooperation 
Movement. Her husband was a famous dramatist, actor, and a teacher. 
He resigned his teacher's post in 1921 and took part in Non-cooperation 
Movement and was incarcerated. 

From die present Prakasam district we find two women w'lio 
participated in diis Non-cooperation Movement. 

Alivelumanga Tayaramma, Ravuri 

She was a resident of Chirala, who took part in die 1921 Chirala 
Perala Movement and suffered three niondis R. I. She died at the age 
of 50. 

Sundaranima, Kota 

She was a resident of Addimki. When she refu.sed to pay taxes 



Non-C'oopenilioi) Mtn cmeiil 


57 


in connectuMi with the No Tax C'anipaiyn ( 1 ‘>2 1 - 1 ^;22 ) her 
Manuiila.sutras were sic/ed by ihc 'Fahsiltlar to realise ilie lax amount 

SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT 

Suramma, EUayi 

Sriktikuhini disLriet women loo had eonlribuled to the moxemenl 
One sueh brave womtm was Elluyi Suiamnia She was born tiround 
1904 iuid was resident ol Berhampur in Ganiani dislnel Slie was Uie 
daughter ol Pudipeddi Kxishnamurtlu luid wile ol Stmnayya who had 
the experience ol taking part in tlie Freedom Struggle Irom the days 
ol Vande Mahiram Movement. He was a school teacher but resigned 
his )ob during the Non-cooperation Movement This naturally m.spired 
Suramma to lake part in Non-cixiperalion Movement and participate 
m the foreign cloth boycott movement She .Uso took p;irt m tiie 1930 
Salt Satyagralia Movement, and convicted lor six moiitlis R I. She 
offered Satyagralia witli a two year btiby m her tirms during Uie Civil 
Disobedience Movement In tins connection she wtis latlii charged and 
.sentenced on Jan 16. 1932 to undergo one year's R.l. and was sent 
to tlie Vellore and the Cannanore Jails lor incarcerttiion She was a 
constructive worker She underwent Hindustan Sevadal training. She 
was the president ol Berlnimpur Congress Committee lor some lime 
Her husband went to Jtul lor lour limes and died m pul in 1944. 
She joined Bralimo .Sama| 

WEST GODAVARI DISTRICT 

Maganti Annapurnadevi 

She was called by Gandhiji as one of his dearest daughters. 
Influenced by Gtmdhiji, she inlluenced her husband who in turn 
participated in the Freedom Struggle from then onwarus. She took 
active part in making bonfire of foreign clothes tmd picketing toddy 
shops, .she pre.sented all her gold onumients to Gandhiji in 1921 when 
he visited Andhra. In the words of Gandhiji "so far as I remember, 
she is tlie first lady, who gave away all her ornaments to me." Gandhiji 
also bb.served that she was the only lady weanng khaddar in die 
Women's Meeting at Vijayawada in 1921 and one who had organised 
the meeting actively, sincerely, and peacefully. 

In the words ol Dr. Mathulakshmi Reddy "Maganti 
Annapurnadevi was the first woman to come forward to handover all 
her jewels to Maliatma Gandhi at a public meeting tuid became a loyal 
disciple ol Gandhiji and selling kJiadi house to hou.se lUid propagating 
the message ol Gandhiji to everyone tliat she ctune across." 

She was die daughter ol Kalagara Rama Swami and Pilchtimma 



58 


Women o! Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


Her mother and mother's sister Boppana Maiuk>amba inspired 
Annapumadcvi to have English education and later on ii) participate 
in the national struggle It was Irom this atmosphere tliat tins ytiung 
lady rose up to the level ot lirst batch ot women Satyagialns and 
true lollowers ol Giuidhip. She died at a young age. When Gandhip 
heard about the sudden demise ol Annapurna Devi, he wrote "I tecl 
like having lost one ol my mjuiy daughters whom I have the good 
fortune to own, throughout India, And she was the very best ol tlie.se. 
who never wavered in her huth She worked without expectatuin ot 
reward or prize. I wish tliat many wives will acquire by their purity 
and smgleminded devotion die gentle but commanding inlluence. 
Annapurna Devi acquired over her husbtmd". 

She was a writer, and translated "Navavansha Swapnam." 
"Vivalia Mangalam". and “Aravinduni Lekludu" from Bengali to 
Telugu She had her education at BraJima Balika Vidyalaya, Calcutta 
She could speak English lluently. When Gandhiji was accused by 
her husband for having given too much exertion tliat ultimtitely led 
to her deatJi Gandhiji consoled him by stating Uitit he too was equally 
grieved. 

Mangamma, Sattiraju 

She was a resident of Tanuku and daughter of Machiraju 
Sivaraju luid wife of Ramamurtlii. She was as.sociated with tlie 
freedom struggle since 1921. She took part in tiie Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was sentenced on Jan 9, 1932 to seven montlis SI and 
a fine of Rs. 15/- or in default further one month of SI. She was 
sent to Vellore and Cannanore Jails for incarceration. She akso suffered 
one month's imprisonment during the 1941 individual Satyagralia 
Movement. 

Sodamma Chebiyyam 

She was bom in 1895 at Bhimavaram and a resident ot 
Polavaram. She was the daughter of Chivukula Suryanarayana and 
wife of Somayya who took an active part in Non-cooperation and other 
movements. It was from this background Sodemma came to tlie 
forefront. She was associated witli the 1920-21 Non-cooperation 
Movement and courted imprisonment during the Salt Satyagralia 
Movement. She again participated in tlie Civil Disobedience Move- 
ment and was .sentenced on Jan 27,1932 to six months' R.I. She was 
sent to Vellore and Connanore jails for incarceration. She was 
involved deeply in the propagation of kliadi and the uplifiment of 
harijans. She was associated witli die Swaraj Ashram estabh.shed by 
her husband at Polavaram tor this purpose. 



Nt>n-C(>i>pcra(u>n Movement 


59 


Satyavathi Devulapalli 

Born on Aug 24 1894 Satyavallti was the daughter ol Vengtila 
Vasudevudu mid wile ol Pex ulapalli Rmiianamurlhi She studied upto 
S S L C She was a scholar in Sanskrit and a social worker She 
was associated vviUi the Non-cooperation Minemeiu as well as Salt 
Saiyagraiia Movement She also look part in the 1932 Civil 
Disobedience Movement She was sentenced on Jan 25. 1932 to six 
montli's R1 mid lined Rs 200/- or in default further six weeks RJ 
She was incarcerated in die Vellore Jml mid was released on 8-4-1932, 
when her conviction was set aside by tlie High Court She tiKik interest 
in the popularisation of kliadi and spinning 

She was a ehild widow So. she was more inspired by her 
brotliers to join tlie National strugggle At Uie age of 11 or 12 she 
was influenced by Bipin Pal's speech at Rajamundry and later on she 
came under tlie influence of Gandfii|i She was also inipres.sed by tlie 
constructive work of Gandhiii from 1920 onwards She had an 
important role in tlie meetings of Gandhiji She did khadi work in 
Meerabai Charka School along with Snngarakavi Lakshniinarasamma. 
and Tallapragada Viswasundaramnia. She conducted Hindi classes at 
Tanuku 

She used to write pcxims mid essays v\hich were published in 
"Grihalakshmi " She established Sri Bala Sanisviaitlii Samajam in 
which there were Sanskrit schtxiL library, training scluxils lor Hindi 
vidwan exiim.. typing, tmloring. Teliigu etc. She liad also organised 
adult education programmes Along with Durgabai (Deshmukh) she 
organised programmes for poor women, destitutes, widows and others. 
She used to invite people from Rmiiakrishna Mission, Theosophictil 
Society to give speeches to these people. She also organised hontiuring 
of great writers, leaders, and musicimis tlirough the Stimaj. She was 
a very active suportcr of Durgabai. who totik her to Bombay tUl of 
a sudden for training when she came to suition to see her off. 

Viswasundaramma, Tallapragada 

She was bom on 6lli Mmeh. 1899, at Undi, Bhimavaram taluk. 
She was the resident of Ungutur, Tadcpalligudem taluk. She was the 
daughter of Mallavarapu Sriramulu and wife of Narasimha Sarma. 

She was associated witli tlie 1921 Non-cooperation Movement. 
She took part in the Stilt Satyagraha Movement and underwent four 
months' SI from July 8. 1930 in the Vellore Jail. Again she participated 
in the Cnil Disobedience Movement and served a further term of six 
months SI from July 11,1932 in the Vellore Jail. She along with 



60 


Women oi Andhra in the Freedian Stnne^eic 


her husband eslnhlisiied an Ashnun ’'Anand Niketan" at (liai^aiiu in 
102^ to impart national cdueation Tl>c cou[>ie uoiked h>i the 
uphlUncnl ol hariians tiirouyh this Ashram 

Visvvasundaramma v\as a j*H>eless, and composed a \er\ ^ood 
number ot poems ol all types The punuHic srvngs she composed had 
inspired every one The couple responded promptly to the call t>i 
Gandhi|i tmd attended the Vijayawada C'ongiess mcetin^u in 1021. and 
proposed die Non-eooperation Movement Resolution, in Kakinada 
session wShe got her name lirst in the list to undertake vSatyagiaha. 
vShe met Gandhip at Sabarmadii Ashram, when she attended the 1021 
Ahmedabad Congress. She miplementcd total construclne programme 
ol Gimdhiji 

Thus the Non-ccx>peration Movement daily gmned gi'ound. The 
author ol the Simon Commission observed that deliance ol authonty 
became widespread and extra-ordiiuay development m Indian districts 
where the power ol Government had never been questioned wiUiin 
living memory". 

The Government met this challenge by arresting people, by lathi 
chiirging on processions and by declaring die organisations unlawtuk 
When die Congress met in 1921, some thirty thousand (^0, ()()()) 
Congress workers were in jml. 

Tlie movement at tins time was also becoming violem, Tliere 
were riots in Bombay: Moplali out break in Miilabiu- of Madras 
presidency; diese riots were followed by a tragic action in Cliaurichaura 
in Gorakpur district of United Province. Gandhi ji could not bear die 
movement changing its creed of non-violence mid as a result lie 
suspended tlie movement. He was iirrested mid sentenced to six yem’s 
imprisonment. 

When Gaiidhiji launched the Non-ctx')peration Mo^’cment the 
Andhra province responded to it ui the lorm ol no tax campaign at 
tliree different places. The Chirala-Perala Satyagraha, the Palnad 
Satyagralia and die Pedanandipiadu Satyagralia m which wc find die 
piirticipadon of women also. These episodes show how bruuil die 
pmiic stricken Government and its officials were m dealmg with the 
movement. The Goveniment was forced to accommtxJate die won^m 
Satyagraliis in separate newly constructed jails. In fact no uix 
cmiipaign was not new to tlie ryots of Andhra. When m 1895 die 
water cess was enhanced troni Rs. 4/- to Rs 5/- on mi acre, die whole 
delta not only suspended payment of taxes but actually retrained trom 
culti\ating their lands tind declined to use of the Government water. 
But they paid the dry rate 


Non-Coopcralton Movcnicnl 


61 


CONCLUSION 

Factors responsible for Women’s participation 

During Ihc period bclorc Ciandhiji women could not acliveh 
participate in .uiy political movement. A peiusal ol Uie biographies 
ol women ol this period and the oral interviews wiLli some ol tJie 
old women Ireedom lighters also revealed the lacl that women could 
not play any role in die initial movements ol tJie Ireedom struggle 

The Vandemataram Movement could inlluence some ol the 
women specially when Bipmchandrapal visited Andhra, vSonie women 
like Poniika K^inakamma were very much influenced. Bala Gangadhai 
Tilak did influence to some extent 

Dr Annie Besant through the Home Rule Movement could 
propagate cerhun ideas among tlie people Though women openly 
did not come lorward. the ideas had impact on their minds. 

The social rei'orms led some of the women to come forward 
though not to take part in die nalioanlisi struggle but to propagate 
the ideas ol women's education and other stKial problems There was 
an awakening Ui(>ugh not on a mass scale. Many women not only 
educated but started expressing thier liberal ideas through maga/mes 
We find a number of articles written by these women m diflcreiU 
magayines like "Gnhalakshmi." ’’Hindu Sundari” and "Anasiiya” etc 
They were all about women education, health, progress and die role 
ol a housewife etc. but not about the political situation and liberation 
ol the country 

The women's conferences like the Andhra Mahila Sahha. and 
the All India Women's Conference led the women to discuss their 
problems openly This led to the propagation ol ideas which brought 
awareness among the women. Ruknuni Lakshmipathi. Kandukun 
Rajyiilakshmiimma, and Bandaru Atchamamba attended these social 
ctmferences which took place along with Andhra Maha Sabha and 
discussed many issues related to women. These discussions at all 
lev^els ultimately led to the Delegation to Montague lor women's 
sufTrage Thus we find no where women before the CJandhian perienJ. 
le. 1919 coming forward U) participate in any of the political 
movements But. ol course, the ground was llioroughly prepared for 
their pjirlicipaiion. It was on this lertilo ground that Gandhiji could 
sow seeds oi Freedom Struggle which could grow very easily 
(jradually there was a change in the trend, and feminist movements 
began to innuence women. Tlie international and national conditions 
politically, economically and socially began to influence ihc loaders 



62 


W(mien Andlira in ihc Frcccitini Sti niggle 


in die couiury and tins ga\c a hllip \o some tlic educated women 
who inimediately reacted to tins situation I he\ contributed tiuough 
articles, stones, essyas, and poems Mention may he made here ol 
Kanupartiii Varalakshmi who as a poetess and Duigabui as a political 
leader, inculcated nationalist ideas *md inspired the people 
Impact of Gandhiji 

Before the advent of Gandhpi upjx.T aiut middle-class English 
educated women dominated the "Women's Moxement” in India as is 
well known. This was the critique ottered by Jawahariid Nehru to 
Sarojini Naidu, an active leader ot women's organisations, as early 
as 1932. "Where are the women masses?" he asked Kamaladcvi 
Chattopadyay. a young let list at die time who characterised the Indian 
Feminist Movement as innuenced by Europe and within lire Nnirgcois- 
capitalist trame work". Gmidhi "the greatest revolutionary" m Nehru's 
words, who brought a dr^miatic change among Indian women ciifici/ed 
the prevailing women’s orgamsatums as elitist, tar removed and lenmle 
Irom the problems ot the ma]oniy ol Indian women peasant and rural 
Though fully supportive ot social retorm activities Gandhiji saw die 
problems ol women's seclusion - purdali. lack ot tormal education and 
restriction on their movements as upper caste and middle class 
problems Majority of die pcxir women had other problems he stated. 
Thus cnticism of the Indum w’omen's movement in its oigamsed 
middle-class, constitutional torm was really m old hat today. It was 
a part of the influence of colonial ideological culture dial Gandhip 
sought to dismantle. 

The upsurge in women’s participation as in the politicisation 
of die entire Indian society is associated with die Non-ccxipcration 
Movement, This movement saw a beginning ot women’s participation 
following the constructive programmee, set down by Gandhqi’s 
spinning and khadi work It was not a mere extension ol "household 
activities" as Gail Pearson refers to them They were intrinsic to die 
type of movement Gandhiji envisaged in which such constructive wxirk 
performed by bodi men and women had an extremely viduable political 
role to play. By tlie late twenties women increasingly participated 
in public bonfires of foreign cloth even m the mill areas at night and 
by 1930 all night dhiunas consisting exclusively ol women were 
organised. The myth of die drawing room elite women tbstered by 
the colointil bureaucracy had exploited visibl\ by tlien. 

Thus widi the ad\ent ol die Gandhiaii era women started pla>ing 
a more signilic^uU role m die nationalist movement Women weie 
drawn to Gandhip by his magnetic personality, his unic|ue naturalness. 



Non-Cooperatitin Movement 6^ 


and transparent sineenty From predornnantly uneducated, timid. £uid 
suppressed lot it was Gandhi)i who made Indian woman into sell 
respecting, sell-contident and more assertive of her rights and at die 
simie time conscious ot her duties. Indian women have never asked 
lor lavouis or concessions making sex as a claim for special 
consideration, but had always asked lor equal rights. 

Comment 

The period from 1921-1922 was an important one in the history 
ot women in India because it saw the emergence of women as freedom 
lighters Through their great sacrifices they made a substantial 
contribution to the success, of the movement When Gandhi)i launched 
a cimipaign. the women ol die State playetl an active role. Gandhiji 
valued women's participation in all w'alks ol hie. and regarded them 
as inviUuable colleagues mul comrades 

Hence, whenever he launched a campaign or a movement 
women required no special invitation or appeal to )oin the struggle 
The response to Gtmdhiii's call was quite spontaneous from every 
region of die nation. Quantitatively, (heir participation may not be 
very high but qualitatively their participation is highly commandable. 
This IS clear from the role played by w'omcn like Duvvuru Subbamma. 
Maganti Annapurnadevi. Devulapalli Satyavalhi. Tallapragada 
Viswasundaramma Durgabai Deshmukh iuul others who began their 
political career with Non-cixiperation Movemem and became leaders 
in subsequent movements. 

Gandhiji's visit to the Suite specially to the coastal region, in 
connection w-idi die All India Congress Committee meeting at 
Vijayawada in 1921 niiirked an important suige in the political history 
of the region. His speeches in diis ju-ea gave an impetus to women 
to participate in the struggle for freedom. This can be evidenced from 
die fact that women like Subbamma endiusiastically went to Vijayawada 
leading die other women of die Jirea to have the diirshan of Gandhiji, 
singing national songs when he visited Vijayawada in 1921. Subbamma's 
participation in die freedom struggle encouraged sevcrsil other women 
also. It is interesting to note that some of the news sheets of the region 
appreciated her pardcipation and urged other women jdso to follow 
the example of Subbamma. 

Though the number ol women participants in the Non-coop- 
eration Movement wiis much le.ss. it laid the beginning ol the women's 
participadon in the political struggle. Eju'lier. the grouiul was prepared 
for women's participation dirough .sticiul refonns ami .social oigani.sations 
Women like Rulonini Lakshmipath started their political career in 



64 


VV(inicn t>l AiuJhru in tlic Freccloni Slru.L\i 2 k‘ 


1914 by ailending die snciai an<l cullural cuHilcicnce at P<vtlapu<ii in 
die luiuse nf Pnmika Kanakanima along with Kanchanapaili Kainalaninia 
In diis conlercncc discussions were licld on Andiira Mo\cnicm and 
odicr poiilicaii conditions ol the da> These ccaiterences nuule women 
aware of the conditions, but it was Gaiuihiii wlio brought them to 
die forefront From die Non-cooperation Movenieiu began the 
women's participation and many became prominent and active par- 
ticipants and led die later movements 

Gandhiji through his tour in these districts, attracted many 
women. These women not only became the followers of Gandhi|i 
but also propagated and implemented the Gandhian constructive 
programme. A deep sense of patriotism tuid spirit ol nationalism had 
characten.sed the enthusiastic activities ol women and diis was directly 
due to the great personality of MiUiatma Gandhi whose inlluencc on 
women and men alike was extraordintiry. Extremely able and patriotic 
women members of die Congress made common cause ol the freedom 
for women and worked for it as an essential requisite tor political 
freedom. The result of all diis was sudden and incisive pohtictil 
activitiy tiiat brought out m our women dieir latent capacity for 
leadership and made diem share with many a pubic responsbilities. 
Dr. Annie Besant was elected President of the Congress m 1917. In 
1930 pr Mudiulakshmi Reddy was nominated to Madras Legislative 
Council and she was die first woman of India who had this privilege. 
Achanta Rukmini Lakshmipathi became a minister in die Congress 
Government. 

The women had tlie support from dieir piirents, husbands and 
sometimes they came forward spontaneously. Magimti Annapurna 
Devi had full suppxirt from her parents, TaJlapragadti ViswasundUmimma 
had her husband’s support and Duvvuru Subbeunma had plunged into 
die field by herself. The unique nature of die Non-cooperation 
Movement was to introduce a piotential force in the world history wiiich 
spread to every nook and comer. Dr. Rajendra Prasad rightly said, 
”The Non-cooperation Movement shifted from the drawing room of 
die educated and businessmen to die huts m die countryside to die 
tiller of the soil”. 



CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 
MOVEMENT 



The Civil Disobedience of 1930-1933 can be divided into two 
phases. The first phase was the Salt SatyagraJha Movement between 
1930 and 1931 and tlie second phase was after Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 

THE SALT SATYAGRAHA MOVEMENT 

The failure of the Government to uike up die Neliru Report 
and take note of the demand of die picople widiin die stipulated period 
forced the AICC to proceed witli its plans of launching Satyagralia 
as had been decided at its session in December, 1928 at Calcutta. 
Therefore, a new atmosphere was created with the Laliore session of 
the Congress which met under the presidentship of Jawaiiarlal Nehru 
in December, 1929. This session declared "Purna Swaraj" or complete 
independence as die only goal. Gandhiji was empowered to initiate 
the Civil Disobedience Movement in any manner he considered best. 
Gandhiji selected the breaking of salt-laws as the centre of activity. 
He felt that salt was a thing of common use and tax on it was unjust 
specially from the point of view of the masses of the land who live 
in abject poverty. 

Gandhiji started his historic march to Dandi on 12th March 1930 
and formally inaugurated the Salt Satyagraha compaign mid he was 
arrested on 6th April 1930 for breaking the Salt Law. Gmidhiji’s tirrest 
was the long awaited signal and the campaign started with country- 
wide hartals. It specially electrified die patriotic zeal in women which 
not only gave two-fold strcngdi and support to die cause but also 
invited attention and appreciation from outside the world. At first, 
women were not allowed to participate as Gmidhiji thought that would 
complicate the matters. A more practical and immediate reason for 
excluding women was Gandliiji's sense of chivalry. Gandhi believed 
that British Government would hesitate to attack women unless 
provoked to do so. This would spoil the very purpose of Satyagralia 
and might lead to accusations of hiding behind the protection of 
women. But feminine reaction to this ban was prompt and unequivo- 
cal. The women of the land coveting a place of equality with men 
could not stay back at the call of the nation. They protested that 
in these critical days tliere should not be any watertight compartments 
of services. Margaret Cousins sent a spirited letter on behalf of tlie 


66 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom vStruggle 


Women's Indian Association protesting the division ot work hy sex 
She expressed tlieir feelings when Gandhiji has Iclt tlic care ol his 
Ashram entirely to women. This division of sex in a nonviolent 
compaign seems unnatural and against all the awakened consciousness 
of modem womanhood. In these stirring critical days for India's 
destiny, no conferences, congresses, or commissions dealing witli tlie 
welfare of India should be held without tlie pre.sence of woman 
Similarly, women should ask that no marches no imprisonments, and 
no demonstrations organised for the welfare of India should prohibit 
women from a share in them. This spirited protest had its result and 
Gandhiji was persuaded to yield to their request. This gave women 
a chance to serve their country. Women were as good as dieir word, 
and though only a few were officially chosen to participate in tlie 
Satyagralia by tlie morning of 6th April, 1930, it turned into a mtiss 
participation of women which swept the country. When, at Dandi, 
Mahatma Gandhi was arrested. Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy resigned from 
the Madras Legislative Council as a protest against his arrest. 

After the Lahore Congress, Gandhiji launched tlie patli for Salt 
Satyagraha which was nonviolent. He relied more on the provinces 
of Gujarat, Bihar and Andhra for carrying on tlie Satyagraha success- 
fully. This added an additional responsibility on the shoulders of tlie 
leaders of these provinces including those of Andhra. 

The A.P.C.C. celebrated 26th January of 1930 as tlie Indepen- 
dence Day at Kakinada and all over Andhra the day was observed 
with as great solemnity as in the rest of the country. Congressmen 
resigned public offices occupied by them. 

As in the rest of the country, dictators were appointed in all 
parts of Andhra to conduct the campaign. Sibirams or training camps 
were set up at Pallepadu, Guntur, Bezwada, Masulipatam, Eluru, 
Sitanagaram, and Vijayanagaram to train volunteers for the Satyagralia. 

In March 1930, the APCC decided to launch the Salt Satyagralia 
simultaneously at several places. The centres were Mypad for Nellore, 
Masulipatam for Krishna, the beach in front of the Town Hall in 
Visakhapatoam, Mettapalam and Chollangi coastal villages near 
Kakinada for East Godavari, the residence of Konda Venkatappayya 
for Guntur, and Berhampur and Naupada for Srikakulam districts.. 

The Salt Satyagraha was inaugurated on tlie 6th April in the 
East Godavari district where a large number of people at Chollangi 
broke the law by producing salt against rule. 

Krishna and Guntur on 4th April, 1930, West Govadari and 
Nellore on 11th April 1930 and Visakhapamani on 13tli April 1930 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


67 


followed suit dne after another In Madras. Durgabai broke the law 
on 13th April 1930. 

Picketing of foreign cloth shops and toddy shops were again 
launched and several businessmen agreed to cancel orders already 
placed for foreign cloth. Several communihes gave up their drinking 
habit, riianks to the unyielding persuasive efforts of Andhra women. 

Among the women Satyagrahis in Andhra, Rukmini Lakshihipathi 
was the first lady to be arrested. She was the first lady to pay the 
penalty for breaking the Salt-law. She was arrested at Vedaranya in 
Tamilnadu. Commenting on her arrest, the Hindtu wrote "the impris- 
onment of women of the cultural calibre like Mrs. Lakshmipathi and 
others who have joined the movement must inevitably move popular 
imagination powerfully." 

Besides women like I>r. Muthu Lakshmi Reddy who sympathised 
with the movement, there were large number of women who actively 
participated in the Salt Satyagraha. Sometimes the whole families 
were imprisoned for violation of Salt laws. Leading women like 
Durgabai, Vedantam Kamala Devi and Duvvuri Subbamma played an 
important role- in this struggle. District- wise participation of women 
is given in the following paragraphs. 

In East Godavari, Peddada Kameswaramma worked along with 
Lakshminarasamma, mother of Dr. B. Subramanyam of Sitanagaram 
Ashram and together they imparted momentum to the struggle itself. 
This Ashram played a prominent part and Duvvuru Subbamma was 
one of the volunteers of the first batch. Peddada Kameswaramma, 
a graduate who refused a government job and offered Satyagraha, 
along with Duvvuri Subbamma was imprisoned for six months. 

Palakodeti Syamalamba of Rajahmundry had the distinction of 
belonging to a family where every member offered Satyagraha during 
this period and she herself was sentenced to .seven months jail life. 
She was doing vigorous Congress work taking part in the breaking 
of the Salt law and selling the contraband salt in public meetings when 
she was restrained and was sent to jail. Womens meetings were held 
at Rajahmundry and Vijayawada. 

Vedantam Kamala Devi was arrested for participating in the 
Naupada Satyagraha. When asked to repent her action, she replied 
bravely "Repentence is unknown in my career even in my dreams. 
My aim is to obtain Puma vSwaraj. 1 do not consider this a crime 
and so there is no need for regret or repentence." 

In Guntur, the women's section of the volunteers under the 
leadership of Unnava Lakshmibayamma and Rukmini Lakshmipatlii 


68 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom vStruggie 


went round the city appealing to the womenfolk to observe Swarjya 
Lakshmi Vratam on the Telugu New Year’s Day which happened to 
be on 31st March, 1930 and participate in the Satyagralia Movement. 
A batch of lady volunteers headed by Unnava Lakshmibayamma 
addressed a womens gathering and conducted a btinfire of foreign 
cloth. Then they went to tlie Sibirams at Chirala and from tliere she 
led a batch to Kanuparthi when she was arrested for attempting to 
raid the salt depot there. 

In Nellore Paturi Balasaraswatamma was the first woman to 
join the Salt Satyagraha Movement. Later, tlie entire family of 
Oruganti Venkatasubbayya including his wife Mahalakshmamma, 
daughter and sons, and Ponaka Kanakamma participated in the 
movement and were awarded various terms of imprisonment. 

In Vijayawada two women, Subhadramma and Saraswatamma 
exhorted the members in a meeting to join the struggle in large 
numbers. On 28th August, 1930 Padurti Sundaramma, a Vysya lady 
of Vijayawada, was convicted and sentenced to six months impris- 
onment. 

Tummala Durgamba a disciple of Swami Sitaram of Vinayashram 
was another lady who came from a family where all members were 
sent to jail. She was imprisoned for six months. 

In Visakhapamam, Digumarthi lanakibai was sentenced to six 
months rigorous imprisonment. It was said that the police tried to 
snatch the salt from her fist but failed to do so. 

In addition to these ladies there were scores of others who left 
their hearts and homes and courted imprisonment. Jawwadi 
Rajaramamma was an impewtant Satyagrahi from the Vysya commu- 
nity. She was arrested and sentenced to four months imprisonment. 

In West Godavari, nearly 6000 people including 500 women 
attended the ceremony. Salt water was boiled in fifty pots and nearly 
100 women assisted in the operations. 

On July 17, 1930 Kalagara Pitchamma and Kommuru 
Veeravenkamma were arrested for picketing liquor shops and carrying 
on Congress propaganda. 

In Madras the Salt Satyagraha was mainly organised by the 
Andhra leaders and Durgabai was one of them. The Salt laws were 
broken on the 13th April and several ladies under the inspiring 
leadership of Durgabai and Prakasam volunteerd to join the Satyagraha 
movement and they also gave away their jewels to the Satyagraha 
Fund. Durgabai was sentenced to nine months simple imprisonment 
under section 117 I.P.C. and another three moths S.I. Under section 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


69 


188 for her participation in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. 

The Salt Satyagraha was thus a mass movement in Andhra. 
The women used to set out at dawn before the sun was up, walking 
through streets, unfurling the banners, brmging out those who were 
slack and with them singing national songs, Prabhatpheris and Nagara 
Sankirtans calling all to the battle. They enthused tlie weak and 
strengthened the warriors. They held mammoth meetings and 
demonstrations in defiance of prohibitory orders. They led processions 
and when obstructed squatted on the road side with cool composure. 
Often police made every attempt to disperse tliem but in vain. They 
opened fire and burst tear-gas shells. Undeterred, the women became 
dictators of war councils set up to direct the day-to-day events. 
Through this struggle the women of Andhra have earned a unqiue 
place in the history of the Freedom Struggle of India. 

The defiance of the might of the British even by women, the 
success of their boycott campaigns and fall in the very prestige of 
Government irritated the British and repression was continued with 
more eamesmess. Help of any kind to any political agitator was 
suspected by the Government. Those who offered asylum to them 
were prosecuted on grounds of abetting and aiding illegal activities. 
For example, Duvvuri Subbamma was arrested under section 157, 
I.P.C. at Rajahmundry and sent to Vellorre jail for harbouring 
Satyagrahis. 

As the movement progressed even an ordinary humanitarian act 
was treated as an offence under one or the other numerous ordinances 
in operation. Any one who sheltered or fed, or offered a glass of 
water to a political agitator became a political offender. As this 
persecution became intensified, the spirit of defiance grew more and 
more. 

Women, like men, marched to jails cheerfully. In the gloomy 
cells, their little babies first saw the light of the day and these war 
babies were given names commemorating various important events in 
the life of the nation and its struggle for independence like Swarajyam, 
Vijayam, Samaram, Lavanam and so on. 

Section 144 was defied everywhere. The police went to the 
Sibiram at Guntur and declared it as illegal and asked the inmates 
to disperse. On their refusal, a lathi-charge was made and some of 
the lady volunteers were forcibly lifted and brought out. Even wearing 
of Khadi and Gandhi caps was considered a serious crime. 

The policy of repression and the reign of terror followed The 
most outrageous act of the year was the lathicharge on a number of 



70 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


respectable people who gathered in a garden at Peddapuram for a 
picnic party. The police closed the entrance and exit to the garden 
and asked them to disperse. Then they made a severe lathi-charge 
even on small children and women. 

Swami Venkatachalam Chetty, speaking in the Legislature, 
described the lathi-charge "as specially unique in the annals of police 
zulum even in this unhappy country "and the cut-motion that was 
moved was passed by a large majority and the government suffered 
a major defeat. 

The people of Andhra contributed significantly to the success 
of the Salt Satyagraha. Import of foreign cloth was discouraged 
sufficientiy. 

The second Round Table Conference was scheduled to be held 
in the closing months of 1931 Lord Irwin who became the Viceroy 
at that time was convinced about the need for a policy of conciliation. 
An agreement was reached between the Viceroy and Gandhiji called 
the Gandhi -Irwin pact, which was signed on 5 th March 1931 and 
the Satyagraha campaign was called off. All the peqple in the jails 
were released. 

Speaking after the Gandhi-Irwin pact Prakasam said "the results 
pf the movement within the last 12 months are too many and too 
good. A new force and a new situation is created in India; and India 
by her tremendous s^rifices and soul force rose in the estimation of 
the world. The proudest and the haughtiest nation in the whole world, 
the British, had been made to realise the power and soul force of 
India. 

The period of the pact was utilised by the Government to harass 
and terrorise the prisoners. The failure of the Round Table Conference, 
and the replacement of Lord Wellington as Viceroy, the Congress 
Working Committee was forced to call on the nation to resume the 
Civil Disobedience Movement 

One of the unique features of the Salt Satyagraha movement 
was that wherever the Satyagrahis established a Sibirm the people 
showed their sympathy and gave support to the nationalist movement 
by contributing voluntarily for the maintenance of these camps. For 
example, for the maintenance of Pallepadu Sibiram the villagers around 
Pallepadu as well as the rich Reddies of that area met the entire 
expenses. When the Satyagraha volunteers went inarching to the 
sibiram, they were normally received with music and songs by the 
local people. Meetings were held praising them for their patriotic 
sense and wishing them all success in their ventures and appealing 



Civil Dibooemence Movement 


71 


to the youth at large to come forward and volunteer to serve the 
national cause. 

It was during this tune that the famous lyric "Veera Gandhamu 
Tecchinaramu, Veerulevaro Telupudi" (Tell us who the heroes are; 
we have come to annoint them) by Tnpuraneni Ramaswami Choudary 
was composed. 

Anotlier feature of the Salt Satyagraha Movement was die 
cutting off the spathes of the Palmyra trees and also the burning of 
foreign cloth, which was a complete success. Some of the lady workers 
who took part in this were Digumarthi Butchi Krishnamma, Gadicherla 
Seshabai, S. Subbbamma, Palakodeti Syamalamba, Tallapragada 
Viswasundaramma and others. Some volunteers like Rukmini 
Lakshmipathi -in the Vedaranyam campr near Madras tried to kindle 
disaffection among the reserve police stationed near the camp by 
distributing pamphlets among them. 

The second phase of the Civil Disobedience Movement was 
launched on January 4, 1932. Gandhiji_ and other leaders were 
immediately arrested. District and Taluk Congress Committees were 
declared unlawful associations, processions and demonstrations in 
towns were prohibited. Along with some of the leaders, Mulpuri 
Chukkamma of Eluru was also prohibited from participating in the 
demonstrations and meetings in furtherance of the objectives of the 
Civil Disobedience Movement. 

On 6th January 1932, Duggirala Kamalamba, Dasari 
Krishnavenamma and Dasari Lakshmibayamma of Eluru were arrested, 
and convicted for refusing to furnish security for good behaviour. 

The next day, Kotamarthi Kanakamma of West Godavari 
district was convicted for similar reasons and Mulpuri Chukkamma 
was convicted under Section 157 IPC. Sattiraju Syamalamba, Sattiraju 
Mangamma, and Madunuri Swarajya Lakshmi were arrested for 
picketing and were imprisoned on January 1 1th. S. I jakshminarasamma 
Kommuru Veera Venkamma, and Ch. Butchamma of Eluru wtare 
arrested and convicted under Section 144, cr.p.c. 

Mula Venkatamba and Tekumalla Varahalamma of 
Vijayanagaram were sentenced to four months imprisonment on 
charges of picketing foreign cloth shops on January 15, 1932. Kovvali 
Kanakamma of Tanuku was sentenced to 6 months simple imprison- 
ment on January 17, 1932 The Government promulgated Section 144 
of the Criminal procedure Code and served notices on prominent 
leaders. Peddada Kameswaramma and Devulapathi Satyavatamma 
were forbidden from taking part and even saying any thing that may 



72 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


lead to furthering of the Civil Disobedience Movement. In Nellore, 
Ponaka Kanakamma and Orugnati Malialakshmamma were also served 
with similar notices along with other leaders. Lakshmikantam wife 
of Bezawada Gopala Reddy was also among them 

In Guntur, Unnava Lakshmibayamma was forbidden from 
convening a conference for carrying on the Civil Disobedience. Even 
sympathy to the cause was not allowed. For example, the Deputy 
Kamam and the Village Munsiff of Kothapollur were deprived of their 
posts for having given food and shelter to Oruganti Mahalakshmamma 
and Ponaka Kanakamma during the Civil Disobedience Movement of 
the previous year. Surapaneni Gopala Krishnayya was fined Rs. 
1,000/- for having given food and shelter to the lady volunteers. 

VaUabhaneni Sitamahalakshmamma carried out picketing at 
Gudivada in defiance of Section 144 along with her colleagues 
Digumarthi Janakibai, Mulpuri Chukkamma. Vasireddy Hanumayanima, 
Kanneganti Nagartnamma, Duggirala Syamalamba, Dasari 
Kiishnavenamma, Aiikepudi Manikyamma, Suguna, Mahalakshmamma, 
Cherukuri Sowbhagyamma, Kotamarthi Kanakamma, Tripuraneni 
Kausalyamma, Vedantam Kamaladevi, Kambhampati Manikyamba, 
Dronamraju R^yalakshmamxna and others. All these ladies were 
awarded one year's imprisonment. Manikyamba went to jail- with a 
six months old baby in arms. 

Anodier lady who played a prominent part during the 1932 
movement from Guntur district was Bharathidevi Ranga who carried 
OB a virulent campaign in Repalle and Tenali Taluqs and also at Kavur, 
Feddapalli, and Mantenavaripalem. She was awarded one year's S.I. 
and Rs. 500/-fine in default, a period of three months imprisonment. 

Suryadevara Rajyalakshmi Devi was an active person during 
the Civil Disobedience Movement from Chebrolu in Guntur district. 
She came from a strict "gosha" family and was sentenced, while 
distributing pamphlets and picketing, for one year at Vellore Jail. The 
police raided the Satyagrahis camp at Komaravolu established by 
Emeni Satyanarayana and his wife. The iiunates of the camp were 
all arrested and the Ashram was seized by the police, VaUabhaneni 
Sitamahalak.shmamma wanted to take back the possession of the 
Ashram. Informing the same, she went with a batch of women 
volunteers, broke open the seal of the Ashram md occupied it. The 
police arrived in lorries and arrested Sitamahal^shmanuna and her 
colleagues and took them to the sea coast in the midnight and left 
them in the mid-sands. 

Cherukuri Vijayamma, Surapaneni Annapumamma, and 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


73 


Venigalla Lakshmamma who carried out Congress propaganda in 
January 1932 and picketed the liquor shops at Garikaparru were badly 
treated by tlie police in a number of ways They were abused and 
taken to distant places and let oft at night 

Yekkala Pumanuna, Tummala Satyavatamma and Koganu 
Lakshmamma, who picketed foreign cloth shops at Bezawada from 
March 1, 1932, were harassed for 12 days. Nobody was allowed to 
give them food. They were followed from place to place and not 
allowed to go and ease themselves. Dry clothes were snatched away 
when they were bathing. Tliey were handled roughly and taken to 
the Nizam's territory and left 100 miles away. 

On Jan 29, 1932, the police arrested Katragadda Ramasitamma 
of Mogalrajapuram in Vijayawada for celebrating Independence Day 
while ^e trial was going on. They surrounded her house and prevented 
ingress and egress till the evening. In addition to a fine of Rs. 
400/- from her, six pairs of gold bangles of her daughter-in-law and 
some household articles were forcibly taken away. 

Tummala Varahalamma said that no woman Satyagrahi wanted 
to be pardoned. It was an idle dream of the British to tliink that 
Satyagrahis would beg pardon. 

Peddada Kameswaramma has stated that while carrying out the 
propaganda work in Kondavaram village in Pithapur division women 
were not deterred by pressures. On the contrary, they constantly tried 
to sustain the momentum by their inspiring eloquence. She also stated 
that even though (Indian) men might forget their manliness, the 
(Indian) women atleast would carry it on with courage and resolute- 
ness. 

At Nallur Satyagraha Sibiram some women volunteers were 
arrested on 3rd and 4th April 1932, and about eight volunteers on 
10th AprU, 1932. 

On 8th April 1932 at Repalle, women under the leadership of 
Gaddipati Pitchamma went in two batches with die national flags in 
the hands singing national songs and distributing pamphlets on boycott, 
and processions. They were all arrested and kept m the local sub- 
jail and in the midnight, they were left at the outskirts. Immediately 
on the next day i.e., on tlie 9th, early in tlie morning same eight womenc 
volunteers went to Nallur Sibmun by walk. Tliis Sibiram was already 
attacked twice by die police. The first time six women and the second 
time diree women were arrested. These eight women volunteers who 
occupied the Sibiram went in die evening m a precession singing 
national songs (Nagara Sankirtanas) and arranged a bonfire of foreign 


74 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


cloth. They were arrested on tlie 10th, April 1932. Thus, their Sibiram 
was attacked by die police a number ol umes and die women 
volunteers used to rcoccupy it. Meanwhile die villagers rendered their 
support and cooperation completely to the Satyagraliis The women 
volunteers were not atraid of die ladii charges. Paturi Raghavamma, 
Malipeddi Seshamma, Kolli Nagabhushanamma. Tummala 
Chandramma, and Vegendla Durgamba were confined to six months 
rigorous imprisonment under Secdon 17 ot die Criminal Law Amendr 
ment Act. 

Tatta Narasamma and Devineni Rajyalakshmamma were 
arrested at Pedapulivarru in Repalle Taluk on January 22nd tor 1 year 
R.I. while distributing Congress phamphlets. 

At Bethapudi Devabhaktuni Rajyalakshmamma and Sunkara 
Lakshmamma were arrested for one year R.I. on January 24th for 
propagating congress. 

Nadendla Rangamma and Kolli Ramamma were arrested under 
Section 17 Criminal Law Amendment for one year. 

At Repalle on 9th March Paturi Raghavamma, Yallavar^i 
Prasanamba, Durgamba, and Tummala Chandramma were arrested tor 
conducting Prabhat Pheris and Nagara Sankirtans and kept in Ayyanna 
Chetti Rest House and let off later. 

On 12di March, while celebrating Dandi March Day, Malipeddi 
Seshamma, Koneru Mangamma, Nadendla Sitaramamma and three 
other women volunteers were arrested and later let off. 

At Chebrolu, Vasireddi Parvatamma, Hanumayamma, Gollapudi 
Ratnamma, Prasunamba, Tummala Chandramma, Koneru Mangamma, 
and Rajyalakshmamma were arrested and subjected to six months R.I. 

At Bhattiprolu, Congress Dictator Yallapragada Indumatamma 
was arrested and convicted to six months R.I. on April 8th. At Repalle, 
G. Pitchamma, Sajja Ratnamma, Tummala Tulasamma, Yanamadala 
Ratnamma, Garikapati Radha Kirshnamma, Yarlagadda Ratnamma, 
Kolli Raghavamma, Suryadevera abd Venkamma, Vadlamudi 
Annapumamma, Sukhavasi Atchamma, and Seshanuna were all ar- 
rested. 

At Govada in Tenali Taluk. Chilakamarthi Chilakamma, 
Ramanujamma, and Parvataneni Kausalya were all arrested under 
Section 117 and convicted to R.I. 

At Chebrolu, Vasireddy Hanumayamma. Suryadevara 
Rajyalakshmi Devi were arrested while distributing Congress pam- 
phlets and picketing and were convicted to one year R.I. and tine ot 
Rs. 200/- under tlie Section 143. 188 and 17 Volunteers belonging 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


75 


to Amritaluru were arrested on 8tli' March while singing Nagara 
Sankirtana. 

Kolia Tayaramma of Tenali was convicted to one year R I. and 
Rs. 500/- fine or in default six weeks furtlier jail. 

At Tenali 12tli March Vattikonda Hanumayamma and 
Vasireddi Parvatamnia were arrested three times while celebrating 
"Dandi March Day". 

At Mantenavaripalem of Bapatla Taluk, Mantena Actchayamma, 
Dantuluri Subbayamma and Sukliavasi Bhramaiabma were arrested 
and convicted to six months R.I. on 21st January. 

At Bapatla Tanniru Sitaramamma, Bodupalli Rama Seshamma, 
Tummala Tulasamma, and Vattikuti Radhamma were arrested on 
February 22nd while boycotting foreign cloth. 

Ravipati Rajyalakshmamma and seven women volunteers were 
arrested and let off while distributing pamphlets. 

Bharathi Devi Ranga, TunuiuUa Durgamba, and Padartlii Kanaka 
Sundarainma were convicted to one ycjir solitary confinement and Rs 
500/- fine or in default six montlis furtlier jail. 

At Mynenipalem Ba.savapunnamma, Yalamanchali Basavamma 
Devi, and Sarala Kumtiri were ttrrc.sted and convicted to six montlis 
R.I. for distributing pamphlets on boycotting foreign cloUi. 

At Mangalagiri, Muppancni Pu.skliaramba, Gandi Janardliananima 
and Telagaga Nagaratnamma were arrested on February 12th for 
raising 'Go Back’ slogans on the Law Member. 

At Angalore, Tripuraneiii Kausidyu, Arikepudi Ushamani, 
Vallabhaneni Sitamahalakshmi and Gonuguntla Lakshniinarasamma 
went round tlie nearby villages and propagated the boycott of foreign 
cloth. While picketing a foreign cloth shop at Gudivada the police 
splashed filthy water, coloured water, tuid chilly powder mixed water 
on the faces of these ladies. Later tlicy were taken to a place ten 
miles away and left each one of them at a different places. But, tliese 
women joined together and continued picketing. Kausalya used to 
sing national songs and when she was held up witli fever, her eleven 
year old daughter Sugunamani continued to sing and became a fifth 
Satyagrahi. Manikyamma was followed by Mahalakshmamma, 
Sugunamani and otliers. Tlicy were joined by Koneru Veera Raghavayya 
couple and Ganta Vecraraghavayya couple. The police used Jatlii 
charge when tliese people went out in batches to propagate. After 
2V, months die Angalore Sibiram inmates were all arrested tuid 
convicted to one year impristaiment. Suganamani had two years 
imprisonment but was let off after one year. 



76 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


In the East Godavari district, there were many instances of the 
abuse of power by tlie police. Prominent leaders were subjected to 
severe lathi blows. In such circumstances women exhibited courage 
and came to their rescue. The famous leader Bulusu Sambamurthi 
was inflicted with brutal attack by the police at Kakinada for 
conducting a protest meeting in connection with the arrest of Gandhi. 
The Circle Inspector threw him to the ground with latlii blows until 
he lost consciousness and kicked on his chest with his boot. Durgabai 
who was present there realised that any further non-resistance may 
only result m the death of Sambamurthy. She jumped in between 
him and the police and challenged in an authoritative voice "only over 
my corpse I will allow the police to touch my beloved leader." This 
is an example of the daring nature of Durgabai and her unparalleled 
respect and regard for the leaders. At Madras, while Salt Satyagraha 
procession was going to the Marina Beach to break tlie Salt law, 
the police stopped them. Inspite of the threat, Durgabai and other 
women who were in the forefont did not move. When the police 
made lathi charge many people fell down with blood oozing from the 
bodies. One such sufferer was Jamadagni. Durgabai immediately 
tore off her Sari and offered first aid to him. 

As a part of their campaign, women used to sell Khaddar 
walking in the streets, keeping heavy bundles on thier shoulders. 
Vedantam Kamala Devi, Balantrapu Seshamma, Vinjamuri 
Venkataramamma, Bennuri Kjrishnavenamma (mother of Durgabai), 
and Vemuganti Papayamma and sold khaddar with competitive spirit. 
They were ready to go to jail in case the police arrested them. When 
Krishnavenamma was arrested by the police for selling khaddar at 
Kakinada in 1932 they made her walk to the jail in hot sun. Inspite 
of her filarial legs, she walked a long distance. Several other women, 
not discouraged by the punishment and fines, continued selling of 
khaddar and participated in the processions. 

Some of the activities recorded by Vallabhaneni Ramabrahmam 
and edited by Manikonda Satyanarayana Sastri in the National 
Movement in East Krishna upto 1936 are given hereunder: 

6-1-1932 — Digumarthi Ramaswami, his mother, and his wife 
Janakibai, Varanasi Venkatachalam and others held a meeting at Tilak 
Chauk in Bandar. The police arrived and lathi charged in which 
Janakibayamma fell down and her mother-in-law was wounded very 
badly. The others were arrested. 

17-1-1932 — The house of Kodali Anjaneyulu was raided by 
the police. They siezed the sarees of Anjaneyulu's wife and sealed 
the house. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


77 


18-1-1932 — Pami Reddy Venkata Subbarao was sentenced to 
imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 1,(X)0/-. To extract tlie tine 
the silver anklets of his mother who was sitting besides, and Ute 
jewellery of the guests who visited them were taken away by tlie 
police. 

26- 1-1932 — While celebrating Independence Day at Bandar 
Tangirala Sitaramamma and Davuluru Tulasamma were arrested and 
kept in the police station and let off at 9.30 P.M. 

27- 1-1932 — The police lathi charged Tangirala Sitaramamma, 
and Davuluri Tulasamma as they again came and distributed pam- 
phlets. 

4- 2-1932 — Tripuraneni Kausalya Devi and Arikepudi Ushamani 
of Angalore, and Paladugu Varalakshmi of Gurajada were arrested and 
taken to the police station for their picketing before a foreign cloth 
shop and subsequently were let off. 

5- 2-1932 — Same ladies continued picketing again and iliey 
were splashed colour water on the faces and let off. 

9-2-1932 — At Gudivada, Gonuguntla Lakshmi Narasamma, 
Kausalya Devi, and Arikepudi Ushamani were splashed coloured water 
while picketing. Gottipati Venkateswara Rao was arrested for doing 
service to the women Satyagrahis. 

A bas driver -who took tliese women back to Gudivadti from 
a distance was punished. 

11-2-1932 — Soubhagyamma was not allowed to get into a 
bus at Bandar. 

16- 2-1932 — Gonuguntla Lakshmi Narasamma, and Arikepudi 
Ushamani were arrested while picketing. The police splashed coloured 
water on them and let ttiem off. But within half an hour, they repeated 
it. They were all taken to a distant place and let off on the road 
side. 

17- 2-1932 — About four women were arrested for picketing 
and taken to a distant .spot and then let off. The Andhra Bank, Bharata 
Lakshmi .Bank, Co-operative Bank, Andhra Insurance Company etc., 
were not allowed to operate money transactions, Bhogaraju 
Venkataratnam and Rajeswaramma were prohibited by the Government 
to withdraw money from tlie bank. 

21-2-1932 — Komaravolu Ashram was raided by the police. 
Vallabhaneni Sitamahalakshmamma, who led the women in the 
Ashram and resisted was splashed coloured water and beaten severely. 
Somewomen became unconscious and they were taken to the hospitals. 



78 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


5-3-1932 — At Gudivada, Chcrukun Soubhagyamma, 
Tripuraneni Kausalyamma, Arikepudi Sugnamani, a girl of 12 years, 
Vallabhaneni Sitamahalakshmamma, Gonuguntla Lakshmmarasamma, 
Ghanta Veeraraghavamma, and others were arrested and taken to 
distant places and then let off. 

29-3-1992 — But these women continued the same action. The 
police also continued to leave them at the outskirts in the midnights. 

31-3-1932 — At Gudivada, Ghanta Veeraraghavamma, 
Arekepudi Sugunamani, Arekepudi Mahalakshmamma, Kanneganti 
Nagaratnamma, Ghanta Mallikamba, and Koneru Bharatamma were 
lathi charged and taken to different places for picketing of foreign 
cloth shops but let off later. 

12-4-1932 — At Pamidi Mukkala, Koganti Raghavamma and 
Lakshmamma were beaten by the women police for distributing 
pamphlets. A washerwoman who was passing by was also beaten 
by them with lathis. 

28-4-1932 — Tripuraneni Kausalyamma was sentenced to one 
year imprisonment by the Gudivada Magistrate. 

2-5-1932 — Paladugu Varalakshmamma of Gurajada, Mikkilineni 
Varalakshmamma of Kapileswarjqpuram, Nadella Mahalakshmamma of 
Mudunur, and Tummala Satyavatamma of Mudunur were all sentenced 
to six months R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- 

All the women who participated in the picketing were sentenced 
to imprisonment from 2-5-1932 onwards and fined. 

Arekepudi Sugunamani who was only 12 years old was 
sentenced to 2 years R.I. and the other women for one year R.I. Some 
of them were pregnant and some had babies in arms. 

25-5-1932 — Nutakki Sitaramamma, Surapaneni Venkata 
Subbamma, and Jagarlamudi Kameswar am ma were arrested at 
Nandivada. 

28-5-1932 — Potlun Punnamma, Potluri Yasodamma, and 
Cheruicuri Soubhagyamma were arrested at Gudivada. 

2- 8-1932 — Vallabhaneni Annapumamma, Guttikonda Sitamma 
and two other women occupied the Congress office which was sealed 
by the Govenunent at Bhatla Pamarru and continued propagation of 
Congress in the surrounding villages. 

5-8-1932 — Pamarm police Sub-Inspector arrested the above 
women and again sealed the office. 

3- 9-1932 — Varanasi Sitayamma, and Gadireddi Putlaihnaa 
were arrested and detained in the police station and left them off next 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


79 


day. while picketing at Gudivada They were not given any food. 

29-9-1932 — Gorrepati Saras wathamma, Lakshmi Kantamma, 
and Kutumbanuna were arrested at Gantasala while picketing the liquor 
shops and were arrested and 'sentenced to 3 month's imprisonment. 

27-10-1932 — Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay was arrested at 
Gudivada while addressing a public meeting. Towards the end of 
1932, policeman in plain clothes got into a railway compartment 
reserved for ladies and harassed Peddada Kameswaramma and another 
lady in purdah travelling in it. Everything was suspect in the eyes 
of the Government including wearing khadi. It was exactly for this 
fault a lady at the instance of a policeman was made to get down 
from a bus while she v/as travelhng from Musulipatnam to Challapalli. 

The Government then decided to attack -their properties. 
Satyagrahis wherever arrested were heavily fined and all conceivable 
measures, sometimes even illegal means, were taken to sieze property 
and recover the fines. To recover the fine imposed on Tatta 
Andalamma of Kakinada, the property of her distant relative was 
attached. 

Quite undeterred by such experiences, the women Satyagrahis 
carried on the picketing with a renewed sen.se of dedication. So the 
police had to resort to another uncivilised way of terrorising the women 
Satyagrahis. 

At first, it was the policy of the Government not to send the 
women agitators to jail so as to prevent them from joining tlie 
movement They resorted to special types of harsh and insulting 
treatment Women volunteers were abused in filthy language; they 
were taken away from roads and highways. 

After that the Government resorted to a second method. It 
was reported that the police splashed on women coloured water, filthy 
water, chilli powder and sometimes with tar and irritant juices. Toddy 
was thrown on the heads of women picketing liquor shops. The water 
directed through the water hoses and pistons was poured with such 
a force on Sitamahalakshmamma while picketing at Gudivada, 
became unconscious. Inspite of their ill-treatment, she continued to 
carry on her activities and so she was arrested. 

The third method resorted by the police was employing women 
police to arrest large number of women from participation. Tribal 
women and other women on daily wages were engaged to beat the 
women participants. 

Some of the women received injuries and were removed to 
hospitals. Even a leading leader like Durgabayamma was not treated 



80 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


properly in jail and for someume she was put m tlie Madurai )ail m 
solitary confinement where only crmiinals were lodged 

Another metliod applied by tlie police wits confiscation of 
movable and immovable belongings of the guests who ctime t<i tlie 
houses of Satyagrahi's. Taking away tlieir ornaments, and auctioning 
of properties became a regular feature. 

The last method was occupying tlie houses. Ashrams, luid 
libraries, and confiscating the property by breaking the lock and seal. 
But the women Satyarahis immediately used to take pos-session and 
occupy it. 

The Government admitted the use of coloured and filthy water 
for splashing them. Some Irish and English ladies like Margaret 
Cousins and Lady Slade who were disciples of Mahatma Gandhi 
expressed their sympathy for the struggle carried on by the Indian 
women. Margaret Cousins addressed the women's conference at the 
Madras Mahajana Sabha and openly expressed her sympatliy for 
women non-cooperators. 

Conferences held in Defiance of Section 144. 

The Andhra provincial conference was held at Guntur on tlie 
5th June 1932 in defiance of Section 144. Kamala Devi Chattopadliyaya 
presided over the meeting. About 60 delegates were arrested when 
they started in a procession led by the President. 

The Guntur District conference was convened by Tallapragada 
Viswasundaramma. She along with 23 other delegates who attended 
the conference were arrested by the police. 

Treatment of women political convicts in the Women's Jail. 

The system of classifying prisoners adopted in 1932 was to treat 
political prisoners as different from ordinary criminals and to regulate 
the conditions of imprisonment related to the status and local standing 
of the political prisoner concerned. But after 1932 this reform in jail 
rules was not followed. Husbands were put in one class while tlieir 
wives in another class. Mother and child were separated. The 'C 
class women faced many serious disabilities in Vellore Jail. Women 
were not allowed to wear Kumkum on their forehead and glass bangles 
on their forearms. There were complaints of flogging of political 
prisoners in Bellary Jail. Public had no access to find out tlie real 
conditions that prevailed in jail. Insufficient water led to health 
problem. The food was inadequate. National and uraditional customs 
were ignored. Hindu women were forced to wear white borderless 
sarees which were customarily worn by the widows. Tlie food supplied 
to the 'C class prisoners whether political or non-political was so bad 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


81 


that it IS unfit tor human consumption. Nails luid worms were found 
m food. The cells were gloomy and improperly ventilated The tail 
manuals were out of date. It was conceived in a punitive spirit luid 
in terms of a zoo with wild animals brought from the forest 

It was only after a very severe agitation that green bordered 
sarees were supplied to women prisoners. The utter callousness of 
the police could be seen in the way they treated Durgabai when she 
was in the Vellore Jail. She was separated from her mother and 
everybody She was transferred from tlie Vellore Jail to Madurtu Jail 
because she was instigating the co-prisoners to agitate against die jail 
rules. In the jail at Madurai she suffered all tlie hardships of solitary 
confinement. 

Tlie police did everything to stop tlie propaganda of Congress 
ideology and the campaign for Satyagralia. Inspite of police vigilance 
tlie congress news sheets and bulletins were issued regularly funiishing 
information to the country of all that was happening. "Veera Bharatlii" 
of West Godavari district continued to circulate inspite of the vigilance 
of authorities. 

Dronamraju Lakshmibayamma was good at distributing pro- 
scribed literature. She skillfully kept tlie duplicators hidden. Wlicn 
tlie Indian National Congress was deckired illegal, she worked as a 
messenger between important persons and fulfilled her mission with 
great success. Under her guidance young girls between the ages ol 
ten and twelve years helped to sell the proscribed literature 

Women proved as useful collaborators in tins as Uicy were able 
to hide their duplicators in tlie kitchens or in bams where the vigikuit 
eye of the police could not probe. The walls and pavements served 
as boards on which the news of the day was transcribed. 

The foreign visitors were struck with tuiiazenient by llie 
resourcefulness of women in India. Women as messengers proved 
more humble and cautious than men. 

The boycott compaign became widespread and a large number 
of women took an active part in it. Durgabai, her niotlier 
Krishnavenamma, Yamini Purnatilakam, Unnava Lakshmibuyamma. 
Duvvuru Subbamma. Vedantam Kiumila Devi, Acliaiiia Rukmini 
Lakslimipatlii, Mantripragada Bangaramma, Digumartlii Janakibayanima. 
Oruganti Malialakshmamma and Bezawada Lakshnnkaiiumuna played 
a prominent part m this campaign. Women like Durgabiu w'eni to 
dealers and persuaded them to abandon their trade in loreign cloth 
which was impoven-sliing tlie country, jind deal willi Swade.'-hi goods. 


82 


Women of Andhra in die Freedom Struggle 


These women insisted tliat every household sluiuld have both 
the song of the spinning wheel and die drone of the loom. They 
sang songs on the charka prtKlaiming dial every inch ot loreign clodi 
brought into India only tightened die noose round die necks. 

The Government did not want to remain a passive spectator 
to these "feminine andcs." Picketing was declared illegal and a number 
of picketers were arrested every day. The number ol lurests increased 
as everyday more people joined the movement. The Goveniment could 
not accommodate them in the jails as they were already full. vSo, 
some of them were released after arrest and some of diem were beaten 
up severely. Again there were hartals all over Andhra as a protest 
against the brutal deeds of die police. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF THE WOMEN WHO TOOK PART 
IN THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT 
1930-33. 

EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT 
Alivelamma, Baru 

Alivelamma was bom at Peddapuram in 1 894 tuid was a resident 
of Rajahmundry. She derived her inspiration from her husband Raja 
Rao Baru who was an AICC Secretary , for almost two decades. Irom 
1917-35, The couple stayed at Sevagram along widi Gandbip for two 
years. He participated in all the movements from Allahabad. So 
Alivelamma also participated in the picketing of foreign cloUi shops 
at Allahabad along with Kamala Nehru and odiers in 1930. Her son 
Govinda Rao Baru too partcipated in the Vanara Sena idong widi Indira 
Gandhi at the age of nine years. Thus the whole family had die credit 
of having participated in the National Movement. 

Andalanuna, Tatta 

Andalamma a the resident of Kadali in Razole Taluk. She got 
inspiration from her husband Tatta Raghavachari and Gandhiji, juid 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was interned for 
six months and six weeks from Freb. 1, 1932 in the Vellore Jail. Her 
husband was also interned for ten months imprisonment. 

Annapurna Devi, Simhadri 

Annapurna Devi was a resident of Rajalimundry and daughter 
of Suryanarayana. She underwent four months S.I. from Feb. 16. 1932 
in die Nellore Sub-Jail and Vellore Jtul for having participated in die 
Civil Disobedience Movement. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


83 


Durgabai Deshmukh 

Durgabai was bom on 15th July, 1910 at Rajahmundry and 
settled in Hyderabad in the last two decades of her life. She was 
the daughter of B.V.N. Rama Rao and B Krishnavenamma and 
married Dr C D. Deshmukh. She was an M.A , B.L., and was awarded 
D.Litt (Honoris Causa) by the Andhra University. A pioneer and 
dynamic woman leader of Andhra, she joined the freedom movement 
at the tender age of eleven inspired by Gandhiji. When Gandhiji 
visitea Rajahmundry she happened to attend the meeting. At the end 
of the meeting she saw the volunteers collecting money and ornaments 
towards the Tilak Fund from tlie people. She was also inspired by 
the call of Gandhiji and began to collect money. She wanted to give 
the money to Gandhiji. So with the help of a volunteer she went 
to Gandhiji who was on tlie dias, to offer her collection. Gandhiji 
felt very happy to see the little girl. Holding both her hands, he 
questioned her with a smiling face, "why don't you contribute your 
golden bracelets also?" Durgabai who was delighted at the sight of 
Gandhiji closely, promptly reacted and gave them to Gandhiji. 

At that age of eleven she started a Hindi School at Kakinada 
in 1920, in which she trained about six hundred women volunteers 
for the 1923 Congress session at Kakinada. Little Durga was the 
principal of the school. In the beginning there were only four students. 
Her very first student of the school was her mother Bennur 
Krishnavenamma, who was hestitating to study at that age. She was 
convinced by her daughter. But this helped her at a later stage. When 
Durgabai was arrested in the Salt Satyagraha Movement in 1930 she 
could look after the school. The students of the school were all 
between Uie ages of thirty five and fifty years. Along with the Hindi 
lessons, Durgabai taught them Telugu, domestic work, dance, plays, 
national songs, charka and even rangoli. She trained fifty women every 
year for the qualifying Hindi Examination conducted by the Dakshin 
Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha. The aim of teaching and learning Hindi 
was to make them volunteers of the National Congress. It was this 
language that brought Durga very close to Gandhiji who made her 
the sole translator of his Hindi speeches in Andhra. This Hindi school 
and its little principal had the privilege of the compliments and 
blessings of Jamnalal Bajaj who not only wondered but was also 
impressed and hence offered financial assitance to the school. But 
little Durga was confident enough to reject it mildly. It was with 
this Hindi she could become the right hand of Begum Ali as otlierwise 
she was not eligible at tliat age to become a Congress volunteer during 
Kakinada session of 1923. 



84 Women ot Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 

Right from that young age her mind was on socuU problems. 
She was highly intluenced and inspired by Bapu, who said, "hate the 
sin but not die sinner.” So, she wanted to shtirc her feelings about 
Bapu with the people who were socially neglected and rejected. At 
tlie tender age of sixteen she listed out die number of such women 
and airanged a separate meeting for them with Bapu. When the 
Congress leaders demanded jovially Rs. 5,000/- for sparing Gandhiji 
for five minutes, she agreed. The devadasis responded spontaneously. 
The moment they saw the Mahatma, they donated all Uieir jewellery. 
Thus young Durgabai could raise a purse of Rs. 25,000/-. 

Durgabai was the "Dictator of Salt Satyagraha at Madras". Widi 
the arrest of T. Prakasam and K. Nageswara Rao Ptmtulu, the 
Satyagrahis became desperate. TTiey held a meeting at the Triplicane 
beach opposite to the Madras High Court. About hundred persons 
including women under the leadership of Durgabai started in a 
procession from the Swaraj Office. The police stopped them, and 
w'hen they refused to disperse, lathi charge was made. Face to face 
witli the police were Durgabai, Varahalamma, and five other 
Satyagraliis, and twenty volunteers in rows of two one behind the other. 
The attack lasted for three minutes but was furious enough to floor 
many of them. After the ladies were taken to one side, the Satyagrahis 
scattered. Their piots, ovens and firewood were seized. The act of 
tlie police had been the subject of severe criticism from Indians of 
all shades of political opinion. The view widely held was "as the 
Satyagrahis courted arrest there was no option for the police but to 
arrest them and the lathi charge was considered unnecessary specially 
against peaceful Satyagrahis." 

Later Durgabai told a representative of The Hindu "the ladies 
who joined and would be joining were prepared to go to jail and even 
to die if necessary for winning freedom for India. If men are not 
forthcoming or willing to take the lead in the fight, there are sufficient 
number of ladies- to come forward for the campaign." This spirited 
declaration bears testimony to her patriotic fervour. The New India 
weekly editorial described Durgabai as a symbol of feminine militancy 
in Freedom Struggle as well as feminine march to the citadals of power 
in Free India. But Durgabai is one of the most authentic and arresting 
representative of Indian Womanhood. She was the founder and foster 
mother of several institutions. Her contribution to the progress of 
Andlira in education and social welfare was monumental. Purposeful 
resolute dynamic fervour and tireless work are the causes dear to her 
heart She has established a record which is indeed "a revelation of 
die women in action". Individually eminent, togedier the Deshmukhs 



Civil Disobedience Movennent 


85 


one of the ablest couples on the contemporary scene are a national 
institution. 

Kamala Devi, Vedantam 

After participation in tlie Non-cooperation Movement, Kamala 
Devi continued her activities in the National Movement. She was 
a member of the AICC Standing Commitee in 1929, 1930, and 1934. 
Though she was suffering from paralysis, she toured Visakhapatnam 
distirct to inspire women to participate in the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement. With Naupada raid the Salt Satyagraha Movement in 
North coastal Andhra became not a local but a provincial or inter- 
district civil resistance movement. Though the police behaved 
obdurately, the masses did not resort to violent measures but responded 
peacefully with civil resistance. Vedantam Kamala Devi, on hearing 
about indiscriminate police repression rushed to the spot late night 
by train but was immediately taken ino custody. She was produced 
before the magistrate and was asked to give apology. She replied 
very gallantly like D. Janaki Bai of Vizag "in my career repentance 
is unknown even in dreams. My aim is to obtain Puma Swaraj, I 
don't consider this as a crime and so there is no need to regret or 
repent for what has been done by me." She was sentenced to six 
months imprisonment in the Vellore Jail from May 21, 1930. She 
was the president Of Women's conference held at Itchapuram in 1931. 
She was once again sentenced to six months imprisonment witli a fine 
of Rs. 200/- for her speeches at the Delhi conference under the 
chairmanship of Sarojini Naidu. She was incarcerated in the Vellore 
Jail. 

Kameswaramma Peddada 

Kameswaramma was bom on 15th May 1907 at Rajahmundry. 
She was the daughter of Peddada Sundarasiva Rao and wife of Prof. 
B. Kuppuswami. She was a graduate from the Presidency College, 
Madras. The whole family was influenced by the Brahmo Samaj and 
National Movement through Annie Besant and Lady Cousins who were 
their family friends. Her mother Venkata Subbamma founded All India 
Womens Conference at Rajahmundry and worked as its Secretary. She 
was the first Municipal Councillor in Rajahmundry. All these had 
a deep impact on Kameswaramma who assisted her mother in running 
Hindi classes, and Mahila meetings. When Gandhiji visited Kakinada 
in 1921, and 1923, and Madras in 1927 she worked as a volunteer 
and gave up her teacher's post. At Madras, she used to attend all 
womens meetings and met Sarojini Naidu, Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya, 
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy and others. Achanta Rukmini Lakshmipathi 


86 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


was her political teacher. She worked in the youtli league of Rukmini 
Lakshmipathi. She was a great orator When Rukmmi Lakshmipathi 
was arrested at Vedaraynam, Kameswarantma continued selling salt 
and collecung money for the Congress fund. She participated in tlie 
Salt Satyagraha Movement and was sentenced at Madras on March 
3, 1931 to six montlis imprisonment but released on March 7, 1931 
from Vellore Jail due to Gandhi-Irwin pact. 

By the time she went to Kakinada all tlie leaders were arrested. 
She established a Sibiram' and trained a large number of young men 
and women. She used to go house to house for the sale of Khadi 
and arrange Swadesi exhibition to pass on the message of Congress. 

Quite often she used to address the gathering and wherever she 
went the police always escorted her. But she used to disappear from 
the eyes of the police in a dramatic manner. 

Gandhiji sent Meeraben to find out about police zulum and to 
encourage the women of Andhra. She came to Andhra, inaugurated 
the Swadesi exhibition and spent four days. After the release of the 
leaders including Duvvuru Subbamma, she was planning to work in 
Madras. So she wanted to consult the leaders. As there was no 
scope to consult in the meetings, she arranged a picnic programme 
in a garden at Peddapuram to which all leaders were invited. But 
the police resorted to lathi-charge on all the leaders and Kameswaramma 
was also not spared. She went to Madras and worked in the Congress 
hospital to serve the injured Congress workers. The volunteer group 
including Kameswaramma, Sivaraju Venkata Subbamma, Yamini 
Pumatilakam, Krishnabai, and Janamma Ambujammal were all ar- 
rested while picketing at China Bazar and kept in the hospital wards 
as there was no place in Jails. She could not sit idle in the jail. With 
the permission of jail authorities, she requested Krishnabai to take 
classes on various subjects. After ten days, all these women were 
released on account of Gandhi Irwin pact. She attended tlie Karachi 
Congress. 

Kameswaramma was the president of DCC of East Godavari 
and member of AICC. She was a great social worker. Wherever 
she went whether to Mysore, Madras or Delhi, she extended her 
services to the needy people. 

Krishnavenanuna, Bennuri 

Krishnavenamma was bom in 1896 and married B.V.N. Rama 
Rao. Her parents were G. Manohar Rao Pantulu and Lakshmibayamma 
and mother of illustrious daughter Durgabai. She was a broadminded 
lady and used to help anybody in need. It was her last brother 




Civil Disobedience Movement 


87 


Madliava Rao who encouraged her and brought political awareness 
in her. She studied Hindi in her daughter's school and from that time 
onwards she taught Hindi to many people She did not question her 
eleven year old daughter Durgabai when she gave her gold bangles 
to Bapu. She assisted her daughter in all her activities, charka weaving, 
propagating Kliadi, Khadi hawking, and in starting and running Hindi 
school. She channelled tlie organising capacity of her daughter. She 
looked after the school during the Salt Satyagraha Movement in 1930 
when Durgabai was imprisoned. 

Later Durgabai encouraged her to do the charka work and 
propagate the use of khadi. She shifted to Rajahmundry where she 
settled as a Hindi teacher. Along with Hindi classes she used to take 
some embroidery and knitting classes. When she was the Vice- 
President of Desa Sevika Sangh, the Government declared it to be 
an illegal body. She was arrested and sentenced to six months R.I 
and a fine of Rs. 5/- was collected from her. She suffered 
imprisonment from Jan. 18, 1932 in the Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
She-'leok Hindi classes when she was in die Vellore C. Class Jail. 
She made them write on sand. After sometime Nageswara Rao Pantulu 
supplied Hindi texts, needles and threads. She got the peimission of 
Moturi Satyanarayana of Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha to 
conduct Hindi examinations in the jail. She was tlie affectionate 
mother to every women in tlie jail. Some of her jail mates were 
Saralarani Choudarani, Duvvuru Subbamma, Kolia Kanakavalli 
Tayaramma. After release, she came to Rajahmundry for studies of 
her children. She used to take Hindi classes in Vysya Seva Sadanam. 
Utukuri Lakshmi Kantamma, a famous writer was her Hindi student. 
Some women used to come to her house to learn Hindi. Komarraju 
Lakshmana Rao's wife Neelaveni was one of tliem. From Rajahmundry 
they came to Madras where the Andhra Mahila Sabha was founded 
She worked as a Hindi teacher in it. She continued spinning along 
witli Hindi lessons. Their house was always full of political leaders. 
Tlie revolutionary leader Bhayankarachary, stayed in her house. Tlie 
police, as they were suspicious, used to be around her house in mufty. 
She used to arrange prabhat pheris and Nagara Sankirians with many 
women in Madras. She was a strong constructive worker and followed 
Gandhian principles, especially harijan service. She had a harijan 
criminal as her servant to pull the rickshah. He used to work in her 
house and report to the police everyday. Thus she was humane in 
nature and had tlie greatest sympatliy even for the criminals. She 
died on March 7. 1965. 



88 


Women ol Andhra in die Freedom Struggle 


Lakshmi Narasamma, Manuganti 

Lakdimintirasiimma was a resident ot Kakuiada and was tlie 
daugiiter ol Lakshmikandi Rao. vShe took p;irt in the Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement tmd was awarded six monilis simple imprisonment 
on Oct 11. 1980 She sultered miprisonment in die Vellore Jail and 
was released on March 1, 1931 because of Gimdhi-Irwin Pact. 
Manikyamba, Khambampati 

Manikyamba was bom m 1917 at Tondaviiram, Amalapuram 
Taluk to Subramanya Sasiri and Subhadramma. She was a resident 
of Vijayawada and wife of K. Satyanarayana. The couple were 
staunch followers of Congress in the beginning, and participated in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement. Later diey turned to die Com- 
munist Party of India. Her husband was a highly educated and cultured 
person. He encouraged her in reading famous books of the days which 
inspired her to become a participant of the National Movement. 

Her husband w'as influenced by Gandhiji luid left his II year 
M A. and went to jail. She was only 14 years at die dme. Along 
with other friends like Uddaraju Manikyamma, and Gujju 
Nagaratniunma. she started picketing before foreign clodi shops but 
diey were not arrersted on account of their age. Later, the police 
iurested diem and kept them in Eluru sub-jail for 15 days as they 
suspected that diey were being provoked by somebody from behind. 
The police came in a horse coach and in Congress dress to know 
the whereabouts and waited die whole night but could not get anytliing. 

This young girl while undergoping training in picketing at 
Bhimavaram in West Godavari district met Dronamraju Lakshmibai. 
She was arrested for die second time and remanded 15 days at Kovvur 
sub-jail. She did not loose her courage, but worked widi more vigour 
and endiusiasm. 

Again at die age of 16 she was arrested on 23rd August 1932 
while addressing a political meeting at Kuchipudi in Krishna district. 
This was her diird imprisonment for six monUis <md she was placed 
in B class at Vellore Jail. It was in diis jail diat she met Margaret 
Cousins. Mrs. Prabhu, Kuttiammalamma, Tallapragada Viswa- 
sundariunma, Adurthi Lakshmibayamma and odiers. 

The couple experienced many ditficulties, but worked for 
Congress victory in die elections of 1936, and got die Kotanandur, 
Tuni taluk seat .for die Congress. Attracted by socialist views 
gradually diey parted from Congress. She decided to serve the people, 
and )oined die Andhra Maliila Sangam of Dr. Biuidaru Actchiimamba 
and worked lor women dirough this orgiuiisation. She propagated die 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


89 


importance of women's rights, marriage and divorce bills, anti-dowry 
and anti-devadasi bills, and against polygamy. 

During the II World War she was trained in Air Raid 
Precautions (A.R.P.) and trained other women in tins She was a 
simple and humble worker and did not expect any position or power. 
Nagaratnamma, Guduri 

Nagaratnamma was bom on 6th July 1913 at Yamagudem, 
Kovur taluk in the West Godavari district. She was the resident of 
Rajahmundry and member of Chagallu Ashram between 1926-32. She 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and suffered impris- 
onment for ten months from March 16, 1933 to Jan. 15, 1934, at 
Cannanore Jail. 

Nagaratnamma, Gujju 

Nagaratnamma, wife of G. Venkat Rao, was a resident of 
Rajahmundry. In 1932 she was kept in remand for 15 days for 
picketing. She was again sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and 
a fine of Rs. 1,000/- for attending Andhra Rashtra Maliila Dictator's 
Sabha in 1933. She worked for the promotion of Kliadi, picketing 
and other constructive works. She was kept and released from jail 
a number of times. 

(Rama) Sundaramma, Manapragada 

Sundarmma was bom at Khandavalli, Tanuku taluk in West 
Godavari distirct. She was the daughter of Kanakayya tuid wife of 
Krishna Rao who was a Congress worker and an inspiration to his 
wife. They were residents of Sitanagaram Ashram in Rajahmundry 
taluk. She attended the Andhra Provincial Women Dictator's Con- 
ference at Guntur held in connection with the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was sentenced on March 16, 1933 to 6 month.s, S.I. 
and a fine of Rs. 2000/- or in default further 3 months S.I. She 
was sent to Vellore and Cannanore Jails for incarceration. She was 
a constructive worker in Congress since 1926. She died due to T.B. 
in 1936. 

Ranganayakamma, Bhamidipati 

Ranganayakamma was a resident of Kakinada and daughter of 
Venkataramayya. She participated in the Civil Disobedience Move-t 
ment and was awarded six months R.I. witli a fine of Rs. 5/- on Jan 
18, 1932. The fine was paid. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore 
Jails for internment. 

Subbamma, Duvvuru 

Subbamma again participated in tlie Salt Satyagralia Movement 



90 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


and was incarcerated for six months from May 31, 1930 in the Vellore 
Jail. 

Subbamma, Sivaraju 

Subbamma, a resident of Rajahmundry, was the wife of Dr. 
S.V. Rama Rao. She was awarded six months S.I. on March 3, 1931 
for having taken part in the Civil Disobedience Movement, and 
interned in the Vellorre Jail. She was released on March 7,1931 a 
sequel to the Gandhi-Irwin pact. She again underwent six months' 
R.I. from Jan 27,1932 in the Vellore Jail during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 

Sugunamani, K. 

Sugunamani was born in 1919 at Kakinada. Her father 
Venkataswamy was an ardent believer in social justice and devoted 
his life for the upliftment of orphans and harijans. Besides her 
studies Sugunamani had the opportunity to hear the sermons of 
Raghupati Venkataratnam Naidu which left an indelible impression on 
her young mind. She was married to K. Bhushanam. The spirit of 
service inherited from her father and influenced by the preachings of 
Venkata Ramam Naidu assumed greater dimensions under the encour- 
agement given by her husband who was a strict adherent of the 
Gandhian way of life. As a first step she started contributing 
purposeful articles to 'Grihalakshmi', a monthly journal dedicated to 
the cause of women. The year 1944 brought the couple on transfer 
to Madras and she found a base for her work m Andhra Mahila Sabha 
which made a humble beginning in the year 1937 as "The Little Ladies 
of Brindavan" and had just started developing. When Sugunamani 
offered her services, Krishnavenamma and Durgabai seeing the 
potentialities in the young woman readily welcomed her into their fold. 
That was the beginning which deepened and resulted in an inseparable 
association with the Sabha. In the year 1934, as a girl of fifteen years, 
she helped the Bihar Earthquake Rrelief Committee to collect funds 
for relief measures. As a girl of eight years, she used to watch 
Durgabai with other leaders with great admiration. On one such 
occasion, she saw the blood marks of Balusu Samba Murthy in the 
town hall. These blood strains were the reflections of the lathi charges 
made by D.S.P. Dappula Subba Rao. Young Sugunamani boiled with 
anger on the British. It was from that time that she had decided to 
perform service to the nation. 

Subhadramma, S. 

Subhadramma was the daughter of Ramanayya Chari and was 
a resident of Kakinada As a studen,t she actively participated in the 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


91 


Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced on April 2, 1932 
to one year R.I. and sent to the Vellore and Madras Jails for internment. 

Syamalamba, Palakodeti 

Syamalamba, a resident of Rajahmundry, was bom on 12th June 
1902. She was the daughter of Duggirala Viyyanna and wife of Surya 
Prakasa Rao. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and 
suffered seven months S.I. from May 2,1932 in the Vellore Jail. 
Venkata Ramanamma, Kasibhatla 

Venkata Ramanamma, a resident of Rajahmundry, was bom on 
15th April 1912. She was the daughter of Chimalakonda Suryanarayana 
Sastri and wife of K. Lakshminarasimha Rao. She was influenced by 
Gandhiji and worked in Congress from 1926-1947. She participated 
in the "Simon Go Back Movement,” in 1929, with the encouragement 
of her husband and mother-in-law. When Gandhiji visited Rajahmundry, 
she worked as secretary and volunteer. She was highly influenced by 
Gandhiji and implemented all the programmes of his constmctive 
work, such as propagating charka and Khadi picketing in front of 
liquor and foreign goods shops, teaching Hindi, and harijan service. 
She ran a harijan hostel. She encouraged all the women to participate 
in these activities. She wanted to wear the hand spun cloth. She 
participated in the Congress processions, prabhat pheris and picketing. 
She refused to sign as a British Indian and resolved strongly to work 
for the liberation. Due to her participation in Civil Disobedience 
Movement, she was arrested on 26th January 1932 and remanded in 
'A' class sub-jail. She was not sent to Vellore Jail as she was pregnant 
at that time. She named her daughters in memory of the great national 
leaders and the movement. Her 3rd daughter is Bharathi, 4th daughter 
is Vijayalakshmi (Pandit), and so on. She participated in the movement 
along with Pandiri Nagaramam, and Duvvuri Subbamma. She was 
given full cooperation by her mother-in-law in such a manner that 
when the police came in search of papers, her mother- in-law had 
hidden them around her projected stomach. Police officer Mustafa Ali 
Khan and others could not make out as she was already pregnant by 
then. She convinced some of the ladies who were afraid of the jail 
life.. She refused to receive special treatment for her pregnancy; instead 
she undertook two days hunger strike. When she had some pain, the 
doctor advised her to give up the hunger strike and eat. The other 
ladies who were with her in the Vellore Jail were Sivaraju Subbamma, 
and Madduri Ravanamma She derived her in.spiration from her 
husband who left his medical studies in response to the call of Gandliiji 
in 1921. In the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930 he was 



92 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

sentenced to imprisonment. While he was in jail his mother pa.ssed 
away. He did last rites to her after six months when he was released. 
As she came from tliis atmosphere, she reacted to the conditions of 
the country promptly. She was a kind hearted lady and organised a 
committee of fifty women and collected funds for Uie people affected 
by the Bihar earthquake. After working for three terms, as member 
of Rajahmundry Municipal Council, between 1938-1940, she had 
withdrawn from the elections of Rajahmundry Municipality as Gandhiji 
was fasting in connection with the Hindu-Muslim share in the 
elections. She ran a harijan hostel for eight years in her house at 
Rajahmundry and a Mahila Hindi and and Khadi Sikshana Sibiram 
with her own money. She was honoured by Rajahmundry Municipality 
and a private organisation the Chambers of Commerce. After inde- 
pendence, the Government of India also honoured her with Tamrapatra 
and pension. 

Venkataramananuna, Madduri 

Venkataramanamma was bom on 3rd March 1906 at Peddsqiuram, 
She was the wife of Madduri Anns^umaiah, a resident of Sitanagaram 
Ashram. She was influenced and inspired by her husband who was 
a journalist and an editor of the nationalist Telugu weekly ’Congress' 
from Sitanagaram. Along with him she too was sentenced on Jan 
27, 1932 to six months R.I. and confined in the Vellore and Cannanore 
jails, while picketing before foreign cloth shops. Venkataramarnma 
passed away on Dec 6, 1943 while her husband was still in detention 
for his anti-war activities. 

Venkatasubbamma, Sivaraju 

Bom at Rajahmundry, Venkatasubbamma was the wife of 
Lakshminarayana. She participated actively in the Civil Disobedience. 
Movement of 1930 and suffered six months’ imprisonment. 

If may be noted that there were many other women who 
participated in the struggle by joining processions, picketings and 
prabhat pheris, and did enormous social work and constructive 
progranunes but did not go to jail. 

Papayanuna, Vemuganti 

Bom in 1900. she was the daughter of Bindu Madhava Pantulu. 
She was the wife of V. Sanjeeva Rao and a resident of Kakinada. 
She belonged to the upper middle class of the society. She got married 
at the age of five and became a widow at the age of eight. Encouraged 
by her mother, she studied Telugu, Hindi, Sanskrit and English. She 
joined the Congress at the age of eighteen and participated in various 
activities of the Congress. She continued spiiming and weaving in her 


Civil DisobedielUtfc jviovemsni 


93 


house for a long tune Even at me age ot ^^she was wearing self 
spun-khadi sarees She was influenced by feaw^ffi idrfd*-*reft!f»c5ntted to 
his call for boycott of foreign goodo. She woiteU ’’ JS a volunteer at 
the Kakinada Congress of 1923. 

She donated all her gold ornaments to Gandhiji in tliat meeting. 
She arranged her owm coach for Gandhiji's transport. She organised 
a number of meetings with Gandhiji. One of this was at Vellangi near 
Kakinada where the women of Kamma community donated all their 
gold ornaments. She assisted Kasturba in Sitanagaram Ashram. Thus 
she had personal contact with Bapu and Kasturba. She leamt Hindi 
to participate in the Congress Session of 1923 at Kakinada. She was 
a member of Exhibition Committee, Reception Committee, and 
captain of Desa Sevika Sangh peace troop. She gave a talk on "Duvvuri 
Subbamma" in Hindi at a session chaired by Sarojini Naidu. She 
participated in the Salt Satyagraha Movement through picketing, and 
Khaddar hawking but was not arrested. Her people managed to send 
her to Madras at the time of arrest for further studies. At Madras, 
she met some of the social reformers like Krishnabai and Janammal 
and continued picketing, khadi sale, and spinning. She became a 
member of Youth League of Achanta Rukmini Lakshmipati. After her 
return to Kakinada she continued her Satyagraha activities along with 
Vemulakonda Tayaramma, and Kamala Sitamma. She ran Hindi 
classes in her house and sent many girls to Hindi examinations of 
the Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha. She was associated with 
Vidyardhini Samaj, Mahila Vidyalaya, Rajyalakshmi Pusthaka 
Bhandagaram and Hindu Sundari Press along with Balantrapu 
Seshamma. She is now running a Sanskrit elementary school aided 
by the Government. She was awarded the title "Adarsa Sangha Sevika.” 
Many private associations also honoured her. She was the nominated 
member of the Municipal Council of Kakinada. She was a skillful 
spinner and got distinctions for her fine thread which was displayed 
at khadi exhibitions and was awarded Rs. 5,000/-. This sum was 
donated to Mahila Samaj. This child widow was inspired by Gandhiji 
and followed all his programmes of constructive work as a true 
Gandhian. Even in eighties she showed keen interest to hoist the 
national flag on national festival days. She was a close associate of 
Battula Kamakshamma a social worker. She served for thirty five 
years as Municipal Councillor of Kakinda. She was a committee 
member of the harijan Hostel. 

Yamini Purnatilakamina 

Yamini Pumatilakam belonged to a Kalavanthula family which 
used to entertain the marriage parties. By then there were efforts made 


94 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


by refonners like Kandukuri Veeresaiingam Pantulu, and Raghupathi 
Venkataratnam Naidu against these customs. The members of the 
Kalavanthula corrununity also realised how degrading tliis profession 
was 2 ind decided to eradicate the evils of prostitution. One sucli leader 
was Yamini Pumatilakam. At quite a tender age she was very much 
pained to see the degrading status of the Kalavanthula families m the 
society and openly condemned this evil. Her desire was to arrange 
the marriages of women of this community. This was indeed a difficult 
task but Gandhiji's open support to this reform, infused confidence 
in the hearts of people like Darsi Chenchaiah who felt that such a 
reform was not only possible but necessary. She was a gifted orator 
and a great scholar. Darsi Chenchaiah arranged for a course of lectures 
by her on Gandhism, Khaddar, and Telugu literature to the people 
in the National University, Adyar. She used to be deeply emotional 
when she pleaded in public for the right to marriage for the members 
of her community. Those lectures earned her the active support of 
the theosophists and paved the way for founding the' Kalavanthula 
Refonn Association. Darsi Chenchaiah had extended his full co- 
operation. They both decided to divide their woik. It was decided 
t^t she and her eldest daughter should look after the items such as 
meetings, publishing in newsp%ers and magazines, running shelter 
homes, lectures on marriages, travel and propaganda. Darsi Chenchaiah 
was prepared to bear ore financial responsibility. The vernacular 
newspapers like the Andhra Patrika of Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao 
extended cooperation and support to popularise this Institution through 
this paper. Yamini Pumatilakam undertook a tour of Andhra to 
{Hopagate and get the support for the Association. She started a 
fortnightly journal known as Hindu Yuvathi to propagate her views. 
A number of independent Kalavanthula reform institutions sprang up 
at Guntur and Narsapur as a result this journal, and especially her 
efforts. 

In 1922, she started an orphanage called Hindu Yuvathi 
Saranalayam at Madras for sheltering young women who ran away 
from their life and other destitutes to have a normal life. She appealed 
to ihe public for funds and said that it was intended to impart moral, 
vocational and literary instruction which would enable these women 
to lead a respectable and independent life. The vocational part of 
the instruction consisted of spinning, weaving, tailoring, basket-making 
etc. A large number of women gave up their degrading profession 
to join her orphanage. But the system of Devadasi did not disappear 
completely due to- economic and social compulsions. Thus Yamini 
Pumatilakam worked hard for the promotion of the conditions of the 
Devadasis, and thus rendered her participation in the political activities. 
During the Civil Disobedience Movement she took part in the boycott 
campaign along with Durgabai and her mother Krishnavenamma. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


95 


Duvvun Subbamma, Vedantam Kamala Devi, and Rukmini 
LaJcshmipathi. 

Koduri Leelavathi 

Leelavatlii was bom in 1920. She was the daughter of Devata 
Sriramamurthi and wife of K. Pulleswara Rao, a resident of 
Rajahmundry. She belonged to the Vysya Community. She was both 
a Bhashapraveena and B.A. with music. She worked as convenor 
of lady's wing of Congress of East Godavari and was an Executive 
Member of Vysya Seva Sadanam. Her mother died at a very young 
age. She was brought up and influenced by her father. She received 
1st prize in Veeresalingam Pustaka Bandagaram exams. As a girl 
,she was inspired at the smile of Bapuji when he visited her house. 
She gave her gold bangles to Gandhiji and promised that she would 
not ask her father again for them. She took up spinning in which 
she won a number of prizes. She started wearing khaddar, and 
picketing foreign goods. She did not go to jail due to her young 
age. She worked for the Harijan upliftment and started Harijan and 
Vysya hostels and Mahila Mandals. She taught women in Mahila 
Mandais music, and patriotic songs written by her. Her father Devata 
Srirama Murthi was an active lawyer and a freedom fighter. AH 
National level leaders used to stay in his house. That was how she 
had contacts with Susheela Nayyar, Harindranath, and Kamala Devi 
Chatopadhyaya, Sarojini Naidu, and Dadabhai Kakelkar. Her father 
fought with the police in connection with hoisting of national flag 
on 26th Janaury 1930 and was prepared to die rather than remove 
it. Ultimately he got the judgement from Madras Court that every 
citizen got the right to hoist the flag. From that time onwards he 
came to be known as 'Jhanda Pleader'. It was in this background 
that Leelavathi was brought up. She is a scholar and wrote many 
books. She received Sahitya Academy Award for Children Literature. 
She had a number of titles like "Kavaitrimani," "Kalavisarada" and 
received "Swama Kankanam" from the Grihalakshmi Foundation. 
Some of her books were selected as textbooks. She is an excellent 
musician, and member of many literary and musical associations, a 
senate member of Andhra University, and Honorary Visiting Member 
of women's Jail Committee. 

Nalam Suseelamma 

Suseelamma was the wife of Nalam Krishna Rao popularly 
known as Madhura Kavi, musician and an active participant of the 
1930 Salt Satyagraha Movement and the 1942 Quit India Movement. 
He ordered and insisted everyone in the family to wear khadi, to spin 
and carry on constructive work. Suseelamma used to spin regularly 
and got a saree done out of it to wear. She used to send every year 
a pair of hand spun dhotis to Gandhiji. Gandhiji acknowledged them 
by wearing. Her husband had contacts with Veeresalingam Pantulu 



96 Women of Andhra in the Freedom vStruggie 


and eonducied widow marriages especially of child widows. He was 
expelled from die Vysya community, but continued in service at 
Gautami Jeeva Karunya Sangham-a home for orphans and destitutes. 
She participated in the picketing along witli Kasibhatla Rtmtanjimma, 
Duvvuru Subbamma and Durgabai but was not arrersted and did not 
go to jail. 

Lakshminarasamma, Marunganti 

Lakshminarasamma was the wife of Lakshminarasimha Chary 
who participated in all the phases of the National Struggle. She 
participated along with Duvvuru Subbamma, Durgabai and otliers in 
salt preparation and selling, going in processions, prabhat pheris and 
singing patriotic songs, boycoting foreign goods, and pn^pagation and 
wearing khaddar. But she did not go to jail. She named her children 
as Satyagrahachary, Patakachary and so on. 

Undavalli Lakshmi Subba Rao 

Lakshmi Subbarao was a social and congress worker and a 
member of Guild of Service of Seva Samaj from 1940. She was a 
true Gandbian. She was the convener of Red Cross Stxriety of East 
Godavari District. It was she who brought this Society to East 
Godavari District, and served as vice-president of it. She was one 
of the directors of St. John Ambulance, through which she extended 
First Aid and supply of milk and medicines as a part of flood relief 
programme. She was a member of Jail Committee, Hospital Com- 
mittee, Arts College Committee and Lady's Club. She participated 
in the F*rabhat Pheris and processions and picketing but was not 
arrested. 

Batula Kamakshamma 

Kamakshamma was born in 1886 to Sitayamma and 
Venkatramam. She was a child widow. During her pilgrimage, she 
observed the conditions and problems of women and decided to help 
and do service. She studied Telugu literature in Madras and got 
Ubhaya Bhasha Praveena and Vidwan certificates. She started Andhra 
Yuvathi Sanskrit College and Vysya Sadanam with the financial help 
of her relative Nalam Ramalingayya a resident of Kakinada who was 
in search of a worker to run an institution for women. This 
Vysyasadanam was started in 1920 with four students. It was confined 
to Vysya community in the beginning but now opened to all. 
Kamakshamma was the founder Principal from 1931-1967. She was 
an honorary worker, and gave the salary back to die institution. 

She was a true Gandliian. She wore Kliaddar and did spinning 
and-other constructive work. She travelled all over India and in 1923. 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


97 


One day while she was walking to Badnnath she felt the need for 
higher education. She then studied Vidwan and Ubhaya Bhasali 
Praveena while doing service to women through the Sadantim. She 
was a member Senate and Academic Council ot Andhra University. and 
man y important associations in Rajahmundry She helped tlie Gautami 
Grandhalaya of Veeresalingam financially. She involved her students 
in various activities. Everyday she used to take the girls to tlie River 
Godavari where she taught them swimming, meditation, and sports. 
She was the Vice-Chairman of Indian Women Sports Society. She 
was a Municipal Councillor, and an Hon. Magistrate of Rajahmundry. 
She attended the All India Womens Conference at Bombay along with 
Darsi Annapumamma. She propagated Sarada Act. Visiting various 
places she organised a number of meetings and women institutions. 
She inspired the women, trained and produced Desa Sevikas and social 
reformers. She always used to suggest solutions to the women who 
came with problems. She was honoured with the title "Sangha Seva 
Dhurina,” and received "Grihalakshmi Swama Kankanam" and Silver 
Medal from Andhra Mahila Sabha during its Silver Jubilee Celebra- 
tions. She was known as "Andhra Annie Besant." She died on 
Dec. 16, 1970. 

GUNTUR DISTRICT 

Annapurna Devi, Mantena 

Annapurna Devi, Mantena was bom in 1912. She was the 
daughter of Subbayamma and Ch. Kutumba Raju. She was the wife 
of Mantena Venkata Raju. She hailed from well to do families on 
both sides. Her village Mantenavaripalem was renowned for its 
political activity. Tliere was a political summer school organised in 
the village. Naturally despite seclusion the women of her family came 
out to participate in the movements. She was already associated with 
Congress and was working in it. She took part in 1921-1922 No- 
Tax campaign. The women of Mantenavaripalem were inspired by 
the visits of different leaders to their village. Her house was always 
full with freedom fighters. Naturally she followed her husband's foot- 
steps. She worked for khadi and wore khadi. She was lathi charged 
while picketing foreign goods and liquor shops in 1931 for which she 
was kept in the sub-jail for three days. She was again lathi charged 
for picketing in 1936, and again she was kept in sub-jail. She 
participated in these activities with a small baby in arms and a tliree 
year boy following. She was never tired. When her hu.sband was 
arrested and was kept in jail, she not only looked after the house but 
also took care of the other freedom fighters who rested tliere. She 



98 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom vStruggle 


attended the summer political school in her village Mantcnavaripalem. 
She was elected unanimously to the Ongole District Board m 1937. 
She died in January 1984. She and her husband organised Home 
Library to bring awareness among the people in general and women 
in particular. 

Annapuraamma, Patibandla 

Ann^umamma, Patibandla was a resident of Chebrolu of 
Tenali taluk which was the centre of all politcal activities. Her father 
was Vasireddy Madhavayya. She was the wife of Lingayya. Along 
with other people she too fell to the magic spell of Gandhiji and 
participated in thel932 Civil Disobedience Movement and was arrested 
thrice. She was sentenced on March 16, 1933 for ten months 
imprisonment. She was kept in Vellore and Cann^more Jails. She 
also propagated khadi. 

Annapumamma, Vadlamudi 

Annapumamma Vadlamudi was a resident of Repalle which was 
one of the important centres of the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Under Gandhiji's influence, she participated in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was arrested and released. Finally she was sentenced 
in 1942 under Quit India Movement. 

Annapurnanuna, Suryadevara 

Annapumanuna was bom in i903 at Veerulapadu in Nandigama 
taluk in Krishna District. But she was the resident of Chebrolu a 
centre of activity. Her father was Vasireddy Nagayya. She was the 
wife of Venkatappayya. She belonged to a family where women were 
kept under strict seclusion. But she along with the other women in 
the family came out to participate in the Satyagraha as she too was 
inspired by Gandhiji. She took part in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 
and was arrested but released soon. She again participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932 and wds arrested at Chebrolu. She 
was sentenced on Jan 26,1932 for one year Simple Imprisonment with 
a fine of Rs. 50/- or in default to undergo further two months S.L 
She was interned in the Vellore and the Cannanore Jails. Her political 
life continued and she took part in subsequent Movements of Individual 
Satyagraha and Quit India Movement She was also associated with 
the Join Indian Jnion Movement of 1947-1948 in die erstwhile 
Hyderabad State. She was a true Gandhian and propagated Hindi £uid 
Library Movement. She established free schools for girls in 
Ranganayakunipalem and Veerulapadu of Nandigama taluk. She 

became a member of Krishna District Board. She was also tlie Vice- 
President of Zilla Parishad of Krishna District. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


99 


Atchamma, Mantena 

Atchamma, Mantena was one of the women of 
Mantenavaripalem. Her father was Ramaraju. She had participated 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced to six months 
R.I. from Jan 22, 1932 in the Vellore Jail and a fine of Rs. 50/- was 
also collected by auctioning some of her property. 

Atchayamma, Mantena 

Atchayamma, Mantena was another lady from Mantenavaripalem, 
in Bapatla Taluk. Her father was Dantuluri Lakshmipathi Raju. Her 
husband was M. Narasa Raju. As her house was a centre for political 
activities, she often followed the discussions that were going on. All 
the women in Mantenavaripalem were inspired by the visit and call 
of Gollapudi Sitarama Sastri to join Salt Satyagraha, and the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She underwent six months S.I. from Jan 
22, 1932 in the Vellore jail. She looked after the Satyagrahis who 
stayed in her house. She had also organised and looked after the 
kitchen of the summer political school at Mantenavaripalem in 1938 
She died in 1971. 

Atchamma, Sukhavasi 

Atchamma, Sukhavasi was a resident of Guntur. Along with 
many other women of Guntur she too participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was arrested on April 8,1932 at Repalle 
but was released. 

Atchamma, Movva 

Atchamma, Movva was a resident of Kavur in Repalle Taluk. 
She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932 and was 
sentenced to imprisonment. 

Atchamma, Vogesina 

Atchamma, Vogesina was a resident of Pittalavaripalem in 
B^atla taluk. She was arrested twice for having participated in the 
Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932 but was released. 
Alivelumanga Satyavathi, Konda 

Alivelumanga Satyavathi, Konda was bom in 1911 to 
R. Sitaramayya and Saraswathamma as second daughter. Her husband 
was Ranga Rao. Her sister was Kanuparti Hanumayamma. They both 
lost their husbands and parents. They were influenced by Desiraju 
Sambasiva Rao and began to participate in the political movements. 
She organised Congress Sibiram at KoUiapet in Guntur. She also 
organised prabhat pheris, Nagara Sankirtanas, processions and public 
meetings. She collected funds for Congress Sibirams. She was 


100 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

arrested and kept in the Guntur sub-jtul for twenty days while picketing 
foreign cloth. She conunued the constructive work of picketing before 
foreign goods shops, liquor shops, Harijan uplift, and khadi weanng 
and propagation. She took part in tlie vSalt Salyagralia She was 
sentenced to six montlis imprisonment on Aug 20, I9.S0 and a fine 
of Rs. 50/- or in default further two mondis S.I. in the Vellore Jail. 
When she refused to pay fine, four of her gold bangles were taken 
away. She again took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement She 
was courted imprisonment for four months from June 22, 1932 in the 
Vellore jail. She participated in the movements along witli her sister. 
Tlie two sisters adopted a girl and prepared her to participate in the 
Quit India Movement in 1942. 

China Atchayanruna, Mantena 

China Atchayainma, Mantena was the wife of Venkata Raju 
of Mantenavaripalem. She participated in the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement of 1930 and the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. 
Her husband was also an experienced freedom fighter. He attended 
the Lahore Congress in 1929. She was not arrested but participated 
in tlie movements with great interest. 

Satyavathi, Mantena 

Satyavathi, Mantena was the wife of Radha Krishnam Raju. 
Her parents were Uddaraju Suraparaju and Bangaramma who partici- 
pated in the freedom struggle. As a girl she sang national songs in 
the meetings. She was married just before Independence. After 
Independence she became an active Congress worker. 

Basavamma Devi, Yelamanchali 

Basavamma Devi, Yelamanchali was a resident of Pyaparru in 
Tenali taluk. Her father was Bobba Basavayya. She was the wife 
of Y. Venkatappayya. She joined the Satyagraha Sibiram which was 
organised by Unnava Lakshmibayamma, at Guntur at the age of 
sixteen. Despite .ill health she toured from village to village in Andhra 
to propagate Congress ideals. While she was on tour her mother died. 
She could not stay back, for more than three days, as she was busy 
with her work. She followed and propagated the constructive 
programme of Gandhiji. With her own efforts she passed Benaras 
Matric and Prathama and Vidya Vinodini of Arya Mahilapeeth. When 
her husband went to jail, she looked after the family and resisted the 
temptation of participation in the Quit India Movement of 1942. She 
worked for the upliftment of Harijans. Her entire family took part in 
die Satyagraha Movements. She took part in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement and underwent six months S.I. from Jan 16, 1932 in die 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


101 


Vellore and Cannanore Jails Her husband also participated and 

underwent impnsonment 

Basava Purnamma Devi, Myneni 

Basavapurnamma Devi, Myneni was a resident of 
Mynenivaripalem in Repalle taluk, another centre for political activity 
in the Guntur District. Her husband was Kotayya She underwent 
six months imprisonemnt from Jan 16, 1932 in the Vellore and 
Cannanore jails for having participated in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was arrested while singing patriotic songs ' like 
"Dandalu Bharatamatha," and distributing pamphlets along with Pathiputi 
Sadhusitamma, Yelamanchili Basavamma Sarala Kumari, and others. 
She followed the constructive programme of Gandhiji such as spinning, 
weaving khadi, and women's upliftment by awakening and inspiring 
them. She worked for women's economic independenc, women’s 
education, and organised Repalle Mahila Sangham which was attended 
by prominent women like Bharathi Ranga, Konda Parvatlii, Tummala 
Durgamba and others. She donated money and land for the 
construction of Dattatreya Swami Temple at Mynenivaripalem. 
Bharatamma, Sukhavasi 

Bharatamma, Sukhavasi was bom in 1920. She was a resident 
of Kavuru in Repalle taluk. Her father was Movva Krishnayya. She 
was the wife of Sukhavasi Krishnayya. As her father and husband 
influenced her by their participation, she too participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She underwent six months imprisonment 
from Jan 22, 1932 in the Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She also took 
part in the Quit India Movement. 

Bharati Devi Ranga 

Bharati Devi Ranga was one of the prominent women in 
Freedom Movement from Nidubrolu of Bapatla taluk in Guntur 
District. She was bom in 1908 at Machavaram in Bapatla taluk. After 
having married Prof. N.G. Ranga, she became the resident of 
Nidubrolu. She was a student of Sarada Niketan. She went to England 
and studied at the Ruskin School of Arts at Oxford in 1925-1926, 
She was influenced by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan's speech at Oxford 
University on Hinduism and decided to work for the freedom of the 
country. She had a good background of political atmosphere in her 
parent's and husband's house. Her father was a participant in 
Pedanandipadu Non-payment Tax Movement of 1923. She was highly 
inspired by Gandhiji. Gandhiji visited Nidubrolu at tlie invitation of 
Ranga couple to know the detailed information of women's partici- 
pation in the National Movement. She presented Gandhiji a self-made 


102 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


jkhadi bag with her golden bangles in it. She introduced to Gandhiji 
ten other women Satyagrahis who took a leading part in the Satyagraha 
Movement Prof. Ranga who was working at Pachchiyappa College 
in Madras at that time, also responded to the call of Gandhiji and 
resigned his job and joined tlie movement leaving Madras. From that 
time onwards Bharathi Devi was busy with organising Sibirams and 
giving training in picketing foreign cloth at Tenali for six months. 
She also organised women Satyagrahis camps, wnere young women, 
and newly married brides belonging to different castes had training. 
Under her leadership these women picketed foreign cloth and liquor 
shops for six hours a day peacefully. She was also responsible for 
large scale women participation which was admired by Gandhiji. He 
had full confidence on Bharathi Devi's capacity of organising women, 
not only in Guntur district but also in West Godavari and Krishna 
districts. She was arrested and sentenced on Feb 2, 1932 to one year 
imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default she was to undergo 
further three months imprisonment, during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. The fine was paid and she was incarcerated in die Vellore 
Jail. -'-She, as a staunch Gandhian, implemented the constructive 
programme of Harijan upliftment in which she arranged inter-dining 
and intercaste marriages. 

Bharati Devi, who hailed from, a farmer's family, always worked 
for the problems and welfare of the farmers. She organised a summer 
school for farmers at Nidubrolu for twenty two years in which she 
worked for ryot insurance, limited family and welfare of women and 
children. She also organised pieasant women's camps, at Nidubrolu. 
She organised and participated in Kisan Movements. She was injured 
during the struggle against Venkatagiri Zamindari and Indian States. 
She was the President of the Andhra Kisan Congress held in September 
1940. She was also President of the All India Kisan Congress of 
1940-42. She collected large donations for the Mandasa Kisan 
Struggle against the zamindars in 1940. She organised flood relief 
fund for the Agency and other areas of Godavari district in 1940- 
41. She worked for the development of the women's political school 
at Chebrolu. She was a member of the Advisory Committee of 
Chebrolu Political School. She was the President of the Andhra 
Women s Conference at Ghantasala held in 1956 and worked for 
property rights of the women. She did commendable service during 
the famine in Rayalaseema in 1952-1953, by collecting cattle feed, 
food grains and cloth. When she distributed these things in Uiese 
affected area, she was hailed as Annapurna feeding the people. She 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


103 


was elected to the Legislative Council of Andhra Pradesh in 1958. 
She also organised Andhra Pradesh State Womens Small Savings 
campaign. She toured all over India. She worked for the girls 
education. She started a girls prmiary school at Nidubrolu in 1931 
She also worked for a women's college at Nidubrolu. A library is 
being maintained in her name at Chebrolu now. A number of songs 
and books were written on her by various people including her 
husband. She was a delicate and kind hearted lady. When she died 
on September 27, 1972 due to a heart disease, the whole country 
including Indira Gandhi paid nch tributes to her. 

Chandramma, Tummala 

Chandramma, Tummala was bom in Kavuru in Repalle taluk. 
Her father was Nagandla Seshayya. She was the wife of T. Bapayya. 
She underwent six months imprisonment from July 16, 1930 in the 
Vellore Jail for taking part in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. She 
courted another terai of six months R.I. from Mar. 29, 1932 in the 
Vellore Jail for having participated in tlie Civil Disobedience Move- 
ment. 

Chinna Anunayi, Tummala 

Chinna Ammayi, Tummala was bom on 10th October, 1906. 
She was the daughter of Pavuluri Hanumayya and married to Tummala 
Raghavayya. She became a resident of Govada in Tenali taluk. She 
was inspired by her husband and both took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and sentenced to imprisonment. She under- 
went six months imprisonment from Jan. 22, 1932 in Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails. 

Chinnamma, Maddula 

Chinnamma, Maddula was a resident of Guntur. Her father 
was Eswarayya. She was sentenced to one year R.I. with a fine of 
Rs. 200/- or in default to undergo further six weeks R.I. for having 
participated in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. She was interned in 
the Vellore Jail till her release on Mar. 7, 1931 on account of Gandhi- 
Irwin Pact. 

Durgamma, Koratala 

Durgamma, Koratala was bom in 1897 to Punnayya. She was 
married to K. Krishnayya and became a resident of Nandivelugu in 
Tenali taluk. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and 
was sentenced to six montlis R.I. from Mar. 24, 1932 in Vellore and 
Madras jails. She was arrested again on Mar. 12, 1934 at Tenali for 
having participated in the Legislative Boycott Demonstration and for 
celebrating Dandi Yatra Day. 



104 


Women of Andhra in the Freedc^m Struggle 


Durgamba, Tummala 

Durgamba, Tummala was bom in 1907 at Tunmella m Tenali 
tiUuk to Bushamma and Parvataneni Krishnayya She got married at 
the age of eleven to Tummala Basavayya ol Kavur Her husband's 
htmily was already influenced by Gandhiji and entered the national 
struggle. Right from tlie age of tliirteen she sttirted wetiring and 
spinning kliadi Swami Sitaram (Gollapudi Sitiu-ama Sastri) had 
influenced them so much that it was he who made them the followers 
of Gandhiji. She celebrated Gandhiji's birtliday on 2nd October, 1920 
by inviting some Harijan children. She gave tliem head bath, new 
clotlies, and dinner. She along witli her husband established a Tilak 
National School at Kavur in 1923 for tlie people who boycotted the 
British Schools She organised a tour in the adjacent villages and 
organised bonfire of foreign cloth and preached charka, khadi and 
national songs. When Gandhiji visited Kavur he laid the foundation 
stone for Bapujibagh, a cottage for Harijan .service and propagation 
of Hindi 

Durgamba was trained in Santi Sibiram and participated in tlie 
Salt Satyagralia Movement along with Unnava Lakshmibayamma and 
went round every village. She was arrested on July 7, 1930 and was 
sentenced to six months at Vellore Jail. She met .stalwarts like 
Durgabai, Aclianta Rukmini Lakshmipati, Duvvuru Subbamma and 
Ponaka Kanakamma. She was released on Jan. 15, 1931. She always 
treated Gandhiji as her friend, philosopher and guide. Sti a statue of 
Gandhiji was erected at Kavur in 1931. 

Durgamba a participated in boycotting foreign clotli, picketing 
before liquor shops and foreign goods shops, along with Kolia 
Kanakavalli Tayaramma, Paduiti Sundaramma and Bharathi Devi 
Ranga in the villages of Tenali taluk. She was arrested a second time 
on Jan. 27, 1932 to six months' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 500/- or in 
default to undergo further six weeks at Vellore jail. She did not pay 
fine. When Swami Sitaram had started the Vinayashram at Kavur, 
she along with her husband donated there entire property including 
her mangalyam. The Ashram was inaugurated by Gandhiji. Tlirough 
this Ashram she worked for the entry of Harijans in Ramalingeswara 
Temple, Govada Bala Koteswara Swami Temple and other temples 
in many villages. Gandhiji had appreciated her efforts for Harijan 
upJiltment. 

An orphanage at Vinayashram for small children was started 
in 1940 witliout following any caste or religious distinction. She 
piuticipated, along witli other women, in the Prabhat Pheries and other 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


105 


Satyagraha programmes. Thus her entire family was involved in die 
national struggle 

During the Silver Jubilee Celebrations ol Tilak National School, 
eminent persons like Dr. Rajendrapra.sad and Acharya Vinoba visited 
the school. Durgamba started a Balwadi and organised Aklianda 
Sutrayajhna and, Tulabharam to Abinava Tikkanna, Tummala Sitarama 
Choudary on Oct 2, 1957 for writing Gandhiji's biography Pandit 
Yoginani, the Vice-President of Harijan Seva Sangh visited Kavur 
She organised mass spinning by women and distributed bedsheeis. 
clothes and charkas. She was a member of Provincial and District 
Committees of Kasturba Memorial Trust. 

She visited all places in Krishna and Godavari districts by walk, 
along wiUi Swami Sitaram for separate Andhra state. She went to 
Tirupathi and Madras and participated in the meetings, demonstrations 
and fasts in this connection. 

She organised relief programme in tlie areas affected by floods, 
cyclones, earthquakes etc. She was associated witli die publication 
of papers like “Gandhi Sandarshan”, "Andhra Harijan", "Sarvodaya" 
and "Vanya Jaali". She was also associated with the All India Khadi 
Gramodyog Commission. She renamed Kavur as Kalyanakavur. 
Durgamba, Vajendla 

Durgamba, Vajendla was bom to Vadlamudi Varadayya She 
was the wife of Venkata Subbayya and became a resident of Palakonda 
in Repalle Taluk. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movemnet 
and was sentenced to six mondi's R.I. from Mar. 29, 1932 in Vellore 
and Cannanore Jails. She was encouraged by her husband and 
followed him in the movement. Bodi husband and wife went to jail 
in this connection. 

Durgamba, Velegaleti 

Durgamba, Velcgalcti was die daughter of Nutalapati Subbayya 
of TenaJi. She took part in die Civil Disobedience Movement and 
was arrested on Feb. 22, 1932. She was sentenced to pay a line of 
Rs.1200/- or in default had to undergo two months R.I. She was 
again sentenced to six mtniUis SI on Jan. 16, 1933 with a fine of 
Rs. 2000/- or in default she had U) undergo furdier diree niondis SI. 
She was incarcerated in die Vellore and Cannanore Jtuls. She again 
partcipated in die Quit India Movement tind was imprisoned for fifteen 
months I'roni Dec. 23, 1942. 

Hanumayamma, Vasireddi 

Hanumayymma. Vasireddi was bom in 1910 to Devabhakhluni 
Veerayya She was married to V. Kotayya mid became a resident 



106 Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

of Chebrolu, a prominent centre for Salt Satyagralia activities. She 
took part in the Salt Satyagraha Movement and was sentenced on 
July 3, 1930 to one year SI and was -confined in the Vellore Jail. 
She was released on Mar. 7, 1931 after Gandhi Irwin pact. She again 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced 
on Jan. 23, 1932 to twenty one months SI. She was incarcerated 
in the Vellore and Coimbatore Jails. She once again participated in 
the Individual Satyagraha in 1940-41. 

Hanutnayamma, Vattikonda 

Hanumayamma, Vattikonda was arrested and released at Bapatla 
for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement and 
Celebration of the Dandi Yatra Day on Mar. 12, 1934. 

Indumathi Devi, Yellapragada 

Indumathi Devi, Yellapragada was bom in 191 8 to Bhattiprolu 
Rajasekharam couple. She was married to Venkata Satyanarayana 
Murthi and became the resident of Bhattiprolu, in Repalle taluk. Both 
husband and wife had particiapted in the movements and experienced 
jail life. She was sentenced to six months RI from Apr. 8, 1932 in 
the Vellore Jail for her' participation in the Civil Di.sobedience 
Movement. 

Janakamma, Mantena 

Another women to participate from Mantenavaripalem in Bapatla 
taluk was Janakamma. She was arrested at Mantenavaripalem for 
picketing during the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was taken 
to the outskirts of the town and let off. 

Janardhanamma, Gandhi 

Janardhanamma, Gandhi was a resident of Guntur district. She 
was arrested and left off at Bapatla for having participated in Uic Civil 
Disobedence Movement in 1932. 

Jayalakshmi, Kolia 

Jayalakshmi, Kolia was the daughter of Tripuraneni Durvasulu. 
She was married to Hanumantha Rao and became a resident of 
Pedanandipadu in Bapatla taluk. She passed Visarada in Hindi. She 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was courted 
imprisonment for one year and six weeks from Jan. 18, 1932 in Vellore 
and Cannanore Jails. 

Kamalamba, Yarlagadda 

Kamalamba, Yarlagadda was a resident of Nalluru m Repalle 
taluk. She participated in the 1932 Civil Di.sobedience Movement and 
undergone impnsonment. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


107 


Kanakavalli Tayaramma, Kolia 

Kanakavalli Tayaramma, Kolia was bom in 1906 at Bralimana 
Koduru to Lakshminarasimham and Annapumamma. She was married 
to Kolia Kasi Viswanadham. Both husband and wife participated m 
the Freedom Movement. She was influenced by Gandhiji and took 
part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. While she was 
picketing before the foreign goods shop along with Padarthi 
Sundaramma, Bharathi Devi Ranga and Tummala Durgamba, all the 
four were arrested on Jan. 29. 1932 and kept in the Tenali Sub-jail 
for three days. She was sentenced to six months RI and a fine of 
Rs.500/- or in default she had to undergo six more weeks SI at Vellore. 
She was inspired by Gandhiji’s words "The hand that rocks the cradle 
is the power that mles the world" which made her participate in the 
movement. She had a very good family background of freedom 
fighters from both sides. Her sister, Padarthi Sundaramma, also 
participated in th Satyagraha and experienced the jail life along with 
her. Tayaramma went to Jail with a year and half old girl in arms 
and eight months pregnancy. While she was in Tenali sub-court she 
argued with the court officials and refused to pay the fine of Rs. 500/ 
-. She said that she was prepared to go to jail. Finally, she delivered 
a boy in the jail hospital. The birth of the child was celebrated by 
the other women in jail witli great joy. 

In 1930, while she along with thirty other women were making 
salt at Deverampad, they were ail arrested and taken in a van, and 
were left at Chilakaluripet. All these Satyagraliis were welcomed and 
fed by the villagers. When she was not put in the jail in 1930, she 
felt that every woman must participate in the movement. Tayaramma 
followed the cosntructive programme of Gandhiji. Swadesi Khadi and 
Harijan Movement were their main activities. She along with 
VelagaJeti Durgamba started Sarojini Swadesi shop. When Gandhiji 
was fasting, thousands of women in Andhra took to the cause of 
Harijan Service. She started a roadside Harijan school with the 
permission of the municipality. Gradually she purchased about 1600 
sq. yards and developed a hostel which is now known as Shraddliananda 
Harijan colony for which Gandhiji laid foundation stone on 
Dec. 23, 1933. Now tliis institution consists of a Residential High 
School, an Oriental Elementary Schtiol, and Home for the Aged of 
which she worked sometime as a Correspondent at the age of eighty. 
Kousalya, Parvataneni 

Kousalya, Parvataneni wife of P. Appayya was a resident of 
Govada in Tenali taluk. She was sentenced to six montlis’ SI from 



108 


Women of Andhra m tlie Freedom Struggle 


Jan. 22, 1932 for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement 
in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 

Krishnavenamma, Nagalla 

Krishnavenamma, Nagalla was bom in 1905 to Kondepi 
Kotayya. She was married to Knshnayya and became a resident of 
Anantavaram in Tenali taluk. Both her father and husband were 
freedom fighters and went to jail. Under their influence she too 
particiapted in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced 
to six months imprisonment from July 23, 1930 in Vellore Jail. 
Lakshmamma, Sunkara 

Lakshmamma, Sunkara was the daughter of Venkatadri whose 
influence was very much on her. She was married to Krishnayya 
and became the resident of Betapudi in Repalle Taluk. When she 
saw her father being arrested in 1930, she too participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was sentenced from Jan. 28, 1932 in 
Vellore Jail. 

Unnava Lakshmibayamma 

Unnava Lakshmibayamma was one of the leading women 
Satyagrahis during Gandhian period. She had enough experience and 
boldness to be a social worker. Being the wife of a social worker 
and freedom fighter Unnava Lakshminarayana, she cooperated in all 
his activities. She was bom in Aminabad of Sattenapalli to Nadimpalli 
Sitaramayya. She was a lady with multifaceted capabilities. In the 
pre-Gandhian era we find her only as a social worker but during 
Gandhian period she became the most pooular and active political 
worker along with her social work. 

The Unnava couple started a Widow Home at Guntur in 1902, 
in which tliey celebrated a number of widow marriages. They were 
invited by Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu to look after the Widow 
Home at Rajahmundry. The Unnava couple had accepted the invitation 
and gained more experience when they returned to Guntur in 1908. 

From 1914 the freedom breeze started blowing all over Andhra 
due to the impact of Tilak's teachings. All the leaders of Andhra- 
the Unnava couple, Rayaprolu Subbarao, Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao 
Pantulu, Ayyadevara Kales wara Rao, T. Prakasam, Achanta 
Lakshmipathi and his wife Rukmini often used to meet at Potlapadi 
at Ponaka Kanakamma's house and discuss on independence and a 
separate province for Andhra. 

From 1918 onwards, efforts were being made to start a 
residential school on the lines of Shanti Niketan by Konda 
Venkatappayya and Unnava Lakshminarayana, It finally emerged in 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


109 


the form of Sarada Niketan in 1922 This school was intended to 
give shelter to girls of different fortunes, to educate tliem in various 
vocations so as to make them stand on their own legs in the future. 
The Sarada Niketan received handsome donations on account of tlie 
tireless efforts of Lakshmibayamma. She collected donations lor 
National Fund from various places like Bombay, Madras and even 
from Burma. She managed the institution with great care. Girls of 
different ages and classes took shelter. Most of them got married 
and settled in their lives. Women like Sangam Lakshmibai who 
became prominent and rose to the position of a minister, was also 
brought up by this institution. 

Lakshmibayamma became a staunch follower of Gandliiji and 
introduced his constructive programme in her Sarada Niketan. Wearing 
Khaddar, spinning, untouchability, singing national songs were some 
of the daily programmes of the Niketan. In 1930 she toured all over 
Andhra along with Achanta Rukmini Lakshmipathi to propagate die 
Satyagraha Movement and inspire women. She along with her girls 
of Sarada Niketan inspired the Satyagrahis by tying sacred thread, by 
applying dlak and singing patriotic songs. 

Lakshmibayamma had organised Santi Samara Sibiram at 
Guntur in which two hundred persons got trained. Kalangi Seshamamba 
was also with her in the Sibiram when Lakshmibayamma' was leading 
the Salt Satyagraha at Deverampad. The police disturbed the Sibiram 
and arrested them on June 9, 1930 while making salt and she was 
sentenced to six months imprisonment at Vellore jail from June 9, 
1930 to Dec. 8, 1930. Once again she was arrested at Delhi when 
she went to attend the congress meeting on April 24, 1932. She was 
accompanied by Sangam Lakshmibayamma and Basavaraju 
Rajyalakshmamma. She also participated in tlie Individual Satyagralia 
of 1941. 

Lakshmibayamma was thus associated with all the Satyagraha 
Movements beginning from 1920. She trained the girls of Sarada 
Niketan Tor participating in the National Movement. She inspired 
women of Andhra through her speeches. 

Lakshmikantamma, Utukuri 

Lakshmikantamma, Utukuri was a popular writer of Andhra. 
She was bom on Dec. 21, 1917 at Eluru. Her parents were Nalam 
Suseelamma, founder of Andhra Mahila Ganasabha, and father 
Madhurakavi Nalam Krishna Rao, a famous social worker and one 
of the founders of Gautami Grandhalaya at Rajalimundry and also a 
freedom fighter. Her husband was U. Hayagreeva Gupta, an advocate. 



110 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


She was a versatile scholar in Telugu and Sanskirt She highlighted 
all the women writers of Andhra called "Andhra Kavayitrulu" for 
which she won Telugu Bhasha Samithi award. Then she brought to 
light the women writers of India. She was the author of a number 
of books. She was associated with a number of organisations like 
the Andhra Pradesh Saliitya Academy, the Balala Academy, tlie Senate 
of the Andhra University etc. She organised a number activities like 
the All India Women Writer's Conference for which she collected a 
donation of Rs. 25,000/-. She was honoured with a number of awards 
and titles, Uke "Kalaprapooma", "Andhra Vidushi Kumari", "Andhra 
Saraswathi" and many others. She was the recepient of "Grihalakshmi 
Kankanam". 

Her book Jatipita Gandhiji reveals her zeal and enthusiasm in 
the Freedom Movement. At the age of fourteen she used to speak 
boldly against the British rule in every meeting in Rajahmundry. She 
was a staunch Gandhian. She worked for the promotion of prohibition. 
She went round the villages and made several speeches on prohibition 
and picketed the liquor from the very mouths of the drunkards. They 
used to pour the liquor on her head when she tried to snatch it from 
them. She propagated khadi. She participated in the prabhat pheris 
and processions. Though she was not arrested still as a constructive 
worker, a social worker and a writer she did immense service to the 
nation and to the Freedom Movement. 

Mabalakshmainina, Vemulapalli 

Mahalakshmamma, Vemulapalli was a resident of Betliapudi in 
Repalle taluk. She was the wife of Sriramulu. She was sentenced 
to six months R.I. for having participated in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of 1932. Her husband also participated and experienced 
jail life. 

Mangamma, Koneru 

Another couple that took part in the Satyagraha was Mangamma 
with her husband Subbayya. They were residents of Nalluru in Repalle 
taluk. She was sentenced to six months imprisonment from 
Mar. 24, 1932 in Vellore jail for her participation in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. 

Nagaratnamma, Telegara 

She was a resident of Bapatla. She offered Satyagraha in 1932 
and was arrested and let off at Bapatla. 

Nancharamma, Bitra 

Nancharamma, Bitra was a resident of Battiprolu and her 
husband was Venkata Gopalam. Her father was Narsimhulu. She 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


111 


took part in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced to 
six montlis S I from Apr. 17, 1933 m Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
Nagabhushanamba, KoIH 

Nagabhushanamba was tlie daughter of T. Appayya and wife 
of K. Narayana. They were residents of Nalluru in Repalle taluk. 
She was sentenced to six months' R.I. from March 29, 1932 in Vellore 
and Madras Jails for her participation in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 

Nagabhushanamma, Korla 

She was arrested for having celebrated the "Dandi Yatra Day" 
in connection witli the Civil Disobedience Movement on March 12, 
1934, but was released m the evening at Tenali. 

Narasamma, Tatta 

Narasamma, Tatta was a resident of Pedapulivarru in Repalle 
taluk. Her father was Samudrala Seshacharyulu and her husband was 
Tatta Raghavacharyulu. She was awarded six months imprisonment 
during the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. 

Konda Parvathi Devi 

Konda Parvathi Devi was bom in 1910. Her parents were 
Desbhakta Konda Venkatappayya and Venkata Subbamamba. She was 
brought up in an atmosphere full of inspiration to join the freedom 
struggle. At the age of ten she met Gandliiji along with her mother. 
She was very happy to see him and spoke in Telugu. Gandhiji advised 
her to learn Hindi, spin regularly, and wear Kha^ which she obliged 
sincerely. Gandhiji asked people to boycott British institutions during 
the Non-cooperation Movement. Parvathi was studying first form 
which she discontinued and instead studied Telugu and Sanskrit 
literature in response to Gandhiji’s call. After two years in 1922 when 
Motilal Nehru visited Guntur, she welcomed him in Hindi at a Stree 
Sanatana Dharma Mandali. Motilal Nehru was very much impressed 
as she was tlie only child wearing khadi and speaking Hindi. In those 
days Unnava Lakslimibayamma, Vedantam Kamala Devi and others 
used to speak in Uic women's meetings on freedom struggle. Parvatamma 
was encouraged by them and she used to speak boldly. 

During die Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1930, her father 
Konda Venkatappayya was the dictator to lead the Satyagraha. From 
Vadarevu, a sea coast area, sea water was brought to her house by 
volunteers and salt was prepared with great emotion and inspiration. 
Unnava Lakslimibaytimma, Konda Parvadii, and girls of Sarada 
Niketan uiscd to come in procession singing "Veeragandham 
Techinaamu" and diey used to apply die scent and tie sacred threads 



1 12 Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


to die hands ot tlte Satyagraliis Though she was not lurcsted, her 
participation in tlie Salt Satyagraha was worthy ot mention. She was 
a social worker and founder of women's organisaUons at Bhmravaram. 
She served in different capacities in the Social Wciftirc Board, tlie 
Bharat Sevak Samaj. tlie State Congress as a Member and Secretary 
to die Women's Wing, Vice-President of Central Social Welfare 
Board, and Secretary to the Kasturi Devi Vidyalaya Industrial School 
at Nellore. She also served as editor of "Veera Bharadii" a Telugu 
women's weekly, during 1931-1932. She was a writer and translated 
Geeta in Telugu. Due to ill health, she could not come out frequendy 
and participate in movements. She could not go to jail but her service 
cannot be under estimated, as she followed the constructive programme 
of Gandhiji to a great extent. 

Parvatamma, Patibandla 

Parvatamma, Patibandla was bom in 1900 to Suryadevara 
Venkatadri. She was married to Venkayya and became a resident 
of Chebrolu. a prominent centre of political activity during die Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced to four mondis impris- 
onment from February 1. 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore jails for her 
association with die Civil Disobedience Movement. Once again she 
was sentenced on July 11, 1932 to six mondis S.I in same jails, for 
continuous participation in the movement. She served a third term 
of ten months from March 16, 1933 in Vellore and Cannanore jails. 

Parvathamma, Vasidreddi 

Parvathamma, Vasireddi was the daughter of Devabhaktuni 
Sambayya. She was married to Vasireddi Sambayya and became a 
resident of Chebrolu. This place attracted a vast number of women 
to participate in the movement. She naturally took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was sentenced to six months imprison- 
ment in die Vellore Jail from March 24, 1932. 

Pitchamma, Gaddipati 

Pitchamma, Gaddipati was bom in 1900. She was a resident 
of Anantavaram in Tenali taluk. She was sentenced to .six mondis 
imprisonment from July 27, 1930 in the Vellore Jail for her partici- 
pation in die Salt Satyagralia Movement. 

Pushkaramma, Muppalaneni 

Pushkaramma, Muppalaneni was the daughter of Gogineni 
Ankamma and was a resident of Nidubrolu, anodier centre ftir political 
activity. She naturally responded to die challenge and was sentenced 
to six months S.I. from July 11. 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


113 


for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Punnamma, Ekkala 

Punnamma, Ekkala was a resident of Tenali one of the mam 
centres of political activity Her husband was Venkatanarayya She 
took part in the Salt Satyagraha Movement and was sentenced on 
July 3, 1930 to one year S.I. She underwent the period of her 
imprisonment in Vellore Jail till her release on March 7, 1931 which 
was consequential to the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. She again started 
picketing foreign cloth shops at Vijayawada and was arrested on March 
1, 1932. She was taken to the erstwhile Nizam's territory and let off 
hundred miles away. She again took part in the picketing and 
underwent seven and half months R.I. from May 23, 1932 in Madurai 
and Vellore Jails. 

Radhakrishnamma, Garikapati 

Radhakrishnamma, Garikapati was die resident of Guntur. She 
took part in die Civil Disobedience Movement and was arrested on 
8-4-1932 at Repalle and was later released. 

Radhakrishnamma, Vattikuti 

Radhakrishnamma, Vattikuti was the daughter of Ravipati 
Nagayya and a resident of Vetapalem in Tenali taluk. She was 
sentenced on May 11, 1932 to six month's R.I. in Vellore Jail for 
her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Radhamma, Vattikuti 

Radhamma was a resident of Guntur distirct. She was arrested 
for taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement at Bapatia on 
February 22, 1932 and was let off subsequently. 

Raghavamma, Kolli 

Raghavamraa, Kolli was tlie daughter of Vajendla Rangaiah. 
She was married to Kolli Krislinayya and became a resident of 
Singupalem in Repalle taluk. She was sentenced to six months R.I. 
from May 11, 1932 in Vellore Jail for her participation in die Civil 
Disobedience Movement. 

Raghavamma, Paturi 

This IS another couple diat participated in die Satyagralia. Her 
husband Subbayya and her father K. Krislinayya tdso particiapted and 
experienced tail life. She was a resident of Nagaram in Repalle taluk. 
She was sentenced U) six months' R.I. from March 29, 1932 m Vellore 
and Madras Jails for her ptu'ticipation in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 



114 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Raghavatnma, Ravavarapu 

Raghavamma, Ravavarapu was the daughter of Nagayya. She 
was married to Kotayya and became a resident of Voleru in Repalle 
taluk She was sentenced to six months S.I. from April 17, 1933 
in Vellore and Cannanore Jails for taking part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She again participated in the Quit India Movement and 
was sentenced to fifteen months R.I. from December 23, 1942. 
Rajyalakshmanuna, Devabhaktuni 

Rajyalakshmamma, Devabhaktuni was a resident of Betapudi 
in Repalle taluk. She was awarded one year rigorous imprisonment 
for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. 
Rajyalakshmamma, Kanuru 

Rajyalakshmamma, Kanuru was a resident of Voleru in Repalle 
taluk. She was sentenced to six months imprisonment for having 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Rajyalakshmamma, Munagapati 

Rajyalakshmamma, Munagapati was a resident of Munagapadu 
in Guntur district. She was sentenced to eight months R.I. for her 
participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Rajyalakshmamma, Ravipati 

Rajyalakshmamma, Ravipau was a resident of Guntur district. 
She was arrested at Bapatla for her participation in the 1932 Civil 
Disobedience Movement at Bapatla but was let off subsequently. 
Rajyalakshmamma, Suryadevara 

Rajyalakshmamma, Suryadevara was the daughter of Putumbaka 
Punnayya. She was married to S. Sitaramayya and became a resident 
of Chebrolu. It was from this place that Suryadevara family actively 
participated in all the movements of the National Struggle for 
Independence. Despite seclusion observed in the family, she came 
out along with other women to take part. She was sentenced to four 
months R.I. from January 26, 1932 in Vellore and Madras Jails for 
her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She also 
participated in 1940 and 1942 Movements and suffered imprisonment. 
She was the co-daughter-m-law of Suryadevara Rajyalal^hmi Devi. 
Ramanujamma, Chilakamarri 

Yet another couple that participated in the freedom struggle, 
was Ramanujamma and her husband Krishnamacharyulu. Both of them 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement and experienced jail 
life. She was the daughter of T.K. Venkatacharyulu. She was 
sentenced to six months S.I. from January 22, 1932 in the Vellore 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


115 


Jail. They were residents of Govada m Tenali taluk. 
Ramaseshamma, Boddupalli 

Ramaseshamma, Boddupalli was a resident of Guntur district. 
She was arrested for her participation in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement at Bapatla and let off on February 22, 1932. 
Rajayiakshmi Devi, Suryadevara 

Rajaylaksluni, Devi Suryadevara was bom on May 18, 1914 
to Vasireddi Sitaramayya and Subbamma at Veerulapadu in Nandigama 
taluk, Krishna Distirct. After her marriage with Suryadevara Nagayya 
she became a resident of Chebrolu in Tenali taluk. She studied 
S.S.L.C. and Hindi Visarada. She belonged to a family where strict 
"purdah" was observed. She was influenced by Gandhiji and people 
in husband’s house who were also actively participating in the national 
stmggle. She implemented the constructive work of Gandhiji such 
as spinning and weaving khadi, Harijan upliftment, Hindi propagation, 
picketing before roieign cloth shops, liquor shops and so on. She 
participated along with her cousins Annapuraamma Suryadevara and 
Rajyalakshmamma Suryadevara in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
These women led a large procession singing national songs defying 
laws and were arrested. She was sentenced to one year S.I. from 
January 26, 1932 in Vellore and Madras Jails with a fine of Rs. 50/ 
- which was collected. She led the jail life happily with new 
experiences. She came in touch with many other women freedom 
fighters like Rukmini Lakshmipathi, Durgabai, Bennuri 
Krishnavenamma, Radhabai Subbarayan and others. She leamt 
English in the jail. The women in jail celebrated the birth of a baby 
to Bhramaramba, Marupilla. She never cared for the worst food served 
in jail. She was shifted from Vellore Jail to Madras Jail along with 
eight other women as the Vellore Jail was overcrowded. After her 
release from the jail, she worked as a secrettury for Veeramamba 
Library, particapated in the Women's Movement, propagated Khadi 
and conducted Hindi classes. She was selected as the "Satyagrahi" 
in the Individual Satyagralia of 1940. She was the first lady to 
participate in that Satyagraha from Guntur District. She did Satyagraha 
at Brahmana Koduru in Bapatla taluk on 30th January, 1941. She 
was arrested and kept in the Ongole sub-jail. She was sentenced to 
two months imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100/- was collected from 
her. She was sent to Vellore jail with A-class. She met Ammanna 
Raja, Rukmini Lakshmipathi, Mulpuri Chukkamma and otliers. After 
release, she became the President of Chebrolu Congress during die 
Quit India Movement but was not arrested. She started Jatiya Maliila 


116 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Vidyalayam The students of this institution were also arrested She 
ran a weekly paper "Telugu Desam” till the formation of Andhra 
Pradesh 

Ramayamma, Madula 

Another couple tliat participated in tlie Civil Disobedience 
Movement and suffered imprisonment was Ramanujamma and 
Venkatagiri Rao. She was the daughter of Tatavartlii Venkata 
Narasimham. She was sentenced to nine months imprisonment from 
February 24, 1932 in Vellore jail for her participation in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. 

Rangamma, Alapati 

Rangamma, Alapati was the wife of A. Krishnayya and the 
resident of Betapudi in Repalle taluk. She was sentenced to one year 
imprisonment for her part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 
1932. 

Rangamma, Kothapalli 

Another couple that participated in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement was Rangamma and her husband K. Sriramulu. They were 
residents of Betapudi in Repalle taluk. She was courted one years' 
imprisonment from January 28, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore for 
her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Rangamma, Nadella 

Rangamma, Nadella was the daughter of Pamchuri Ramayya 
and the wife of N. Brahmayya. They were residents of Betapudi in 
Repalle taluk. She was sentenced to one year imprisonment from 
January 28, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails for her participation 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She again underwent six mondis 
R.I. from September 23, 1942 in Vellore Jail during the Quit India 
Movement. 

Rangamma, Paruchuri 

She was a resident of Voleru in Repalle taluk. She underwent 
imprisonment for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Move- 
ment. 

Ratnamma, Gollamudi 

Ratnamma, Gollamudi, bom in 1886, was the only daughter 
of Vasireddi Sambayya and Parvatamma. She was ■ interested in fine 
dresses and ornaments. She was a scholar in Telugu. She married 
Chandra Mouli and became the resident of Chebrolu, an active centre 
for political activities in Tenali taluk. She started implementing die 
constructive programme of Gandhiji. She became a childless widow 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


117 


and took to spinning and weaving khadi. and developed her reading 
habit. She attended the Congress session of 1928 at Madras. She 
was arrested while picketing and speaking in tlie meetings. She 
inspired a number of women with her speeches. She was sentenced 
to six months imprisonment in Ponnuru sub-jail before she was sent 
to Vellore Jail. After fifteen days of imprisonment, she was released 
due to the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 

She then visited Ponnuru, Bapatla, Chirala and Tenali to 
propagate Congress ideas and khadi along with Bharathi Ranga. She 
too organised the Sibirams or training centres for non-violent soldiers. 
A group of women including G. Ratnamma was arrested while they 
were singing Nagara Sankirtans and picketing. But they were all 
released in the evening of the same day on March 13, 1932. She 
again took part in the Satyagraha along with her seventy five years 
old mother Parvatamma, Tummala Chandramma, Koneni Mangamma, 
Hanumayamma, and others on March 17, 1932. She was arrested 
again and sentenced to six months R.I. with ’C class in the Cannanore 
Jail and her mother in the Vellore Jail. After her release she again 
participated in the women's dictators meeting to participate in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement on March 10, 1933. She was appointed as 
a Dictator. The Government showed serious concern about her 
increasing activities and sentneced her to ten months at Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails for- a third time. 

She continued her political life by attending Prof. N.G. Ranga's 
political school, attending all the meetings of the Congress, and 
propagated the Congress ideology. She contested in the 1936 elections 
as a Congress candidate and defeated the Justice Party candidate 
Tripuraneni Ramaswami Choudari with a thumping majority. 

She had the habit of reading and started a Womens Library 
at Chebrolu in 1930 of which she was the President and Suryadevara 
Rajyalakshmi was the Secretary. She organised a number of philo- 
sophical and political meetings and discussions which were held on 
women's education. A Hindi Vidyalaya for Women was started at 
Chebrolu in 1940, which had become the Guntur district's Hindi 
Mahavidyalaya. She continued her political life by participating in 
Individual Satyagraha and the Quit India Movement and was impris- 
oned again while leading a women's procession. 

Ratnamma had organised many women's political centres at 
Chebrolu in 1945 which were visited by leaders like Kamala Devi 
Chattopadhyaya. All the villagers were very much inspired by her 
and elected her as a Congress candidate in the 1946 elections. 



118 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


She synchronised her political life wiUi philosophical life. She 
collected funds for Sathenapalli Matham at Chebrolu. She celebrated 
National Week which was attended by all natioital and slate level 
freedom fighters. Her ninety one years old mother died on Gandliiji's 
birthday. So, she used to celebrate Gandlii Jayantlii with double 
reverence. 

She had dedicated her life and property for the public cause. 
She inspired women who were in "gosha" or seclusion and brought 
them out to participate in the movements. Suryadevara Rajaylakshmi 
Devi, Patibandla Parvatamma, Ravella Venkayamma and others were 
such women. She died at the age of eighty six on July 5, 1972. 
Ratnanuna, Sajja 

Ratnamma, Sajja was a resident of Repalle. She was arrested 
on April 8, 1932 at Repalle for participating in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was released the same night. 

Ratnamma, Kolli 

Ramamma, the daughter of T. Venkayya, was married to Kolli 
Brahmayya and became a resident of Singapalem in Repalle taluk. 
She underwent one year imprisonment from January 28, 1932 in the 
Vellore Jail for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Ratnamma, Yarlagadda 

Ratnamma and her husband Seshayya were yet another couple 
who participated in the Movement. They took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932 and experienced jail life. She was 
sentenced to six months R.I. from May 11. 1932 in Vellore Jail. She 
(fied on July 27, 1947. 

Ratnamma, Yaramadala 

Ramamma, Yaramadala was the daughter of Sajja Kotayya. She 
was married to Appayya and became a resident of Turpupalem in 
Repalle taluk. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement 
and was courted six months R.I. from May 11, 1932 in Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails. 

Saralakumari, Yellamanchili 

Saralakumari Yellamanchili was a resident of Mynenivaripalem 
in Repalle taluk. Her father was D. Ankayya. She was sentenced 
to six months S.I. from January 16, 1932 m Vellore and Cannanore 
jails for taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Satya Gnana Prasunamba, Yelavarthi 

Saiya Gnana Prasunamba was a resident of Nagaram in Repalle 
taluk. She was the wife of Govindayya who also went to jail for 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


119 


participating m the Civil Disobedience Movement. Having been 
influenced by her husband, she took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of 1932 and was courted six months imprisonment in the 
Vellore and Madras Jails from March 24, 1932. 

Satyavatamma, Tanneru 

Satyavatamma, Tanneru was a resident of Bapatla taluk. She 
was arrested and released during the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Savithri Devi, Valluru 

Savithri Devi along with her husband Balaramaraju participated 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement. They were residents of Tenali. 
She was the daughter of Krishnayya. She underwent ten months 
imprisonment from March 16, 1933 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
Seshamamba,- Kalangi 

She was bom in 1886 to Majeti Sriramulu. Her husband was 
Narsimha Rao. She took part in the Salt Satyagraha Movement and 
was sentenced on July 3, 1930 to one year R.I. in the Vellore jail. 
She was released on March 7, 1931 after Gandhi-Irwin Pact. She 
died on October 13, 1953. 

SeshSifuna, Mallepeddi 

Seshamma and Venkataratnam were another couple to partici- 
pate in tlie Freedom Struggle. They took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and went to jail. Her father was Y. Rattayya. She under- 
went six months R.I. from March 29, 1932 in the Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails. 

Seshamma, Sukhavasi 

Seshamma, Sukhavasi was the daughter of Kondayya. Her 
husband was S. Guravayya. They were residents of Kavuni in Repalle 
taluk. She underwent six montlis R.I. from May 11, 1932 in Vellore 
and Cannanore Jails. 

Seshamma, Yelavarthi 

Seshamma, Yelavarthi was a resident of Kavuru in Repalle 
taluk. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932 
and underwent imprisoiunent. 

Sitamma, Dandu 

Sitamma, Dandu was a resident of Guntur District. She was 
arrested at Mantenavaripalem in Bapatla taluk while picketing during 
the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was taken to a lonely 
place on the outskirts of the village and let off. 

Sitamma, Kalidindi 

Sitamma, Kalidindi was bom in 1890 to Krishnam Raju. She 


120 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


was a resident- of Kavuru in RepaJle taluk She ptmicipated in the 
Salt Satyagralia Movement and underwent six monilis' imprisonment 
from July 16, 1930 in tlie Vellore Jail. Alter release, she spent her 
time in spinning kliadi. She died in 1940. 

Sitamma, Mantena 

Sitamma, Mantena was also a resident of Guntur district. She 
was arrested at Mantenavanpalem while picketing during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932. She wa.s uiken along witli others 
to a lonely place on the outskirts of tlie village imd let off. 

Sitamma, Pattipati 

Sitamma, Pattipati was the daughter of Gattikonda 
Nagabhushanam. She was married to P. Surayya luid became a 
resident of Bhattiprolu in Repalle taluk. She took ptirt in Salt 
Satyagraha Movement and underwent six month.s imprisonment from 
July 16, 1930 in the Vellore jail. She also parucipated in the Quit 
India Movement and went to jail in 1942. 

Sitamma, Penumetcha 

Sitamma', Penumetcha was a resident of Guntur district. She 
was arrested at Mantenavaripalem in Bapatla taluk while picketing 
during the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was taken 
to a lonely place on the outskirts of the village and let off. 
Sitaramamma, Boppudi 

Sitaramamma, Boppudi along with her husband B. Kotayya 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Moverhent tmd went to jail. 
They were the residents of Pamdimarru in Repalle taluk. Her father 
was Kolli Appayya. She was sentenced on March 16, 1933 to ten 
months imprisonments at Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
Sitaramamma, Karrapati 

Sitaramamma, Karrapati was a resident of Bulusulapalem in 
Repalle taluk. Her father was Sambayya. She underwent six months 
S.I. on January 16, 1933 with a fine of Rs. 2,000/- or in default to 
undergo further three months S.I. At tliat time she was .seven months* 
pregnant but was still sent to Vellore and Cannanore Jails for 
imprisonment. 

Sitaramamma, Nadella 

Sitaramamma, Nadella was the daughter of Paruchum Ramayy^^ 
Her husband was N. Ramayya. They were residents of Galtavaripalem 
in Repalle taluk. She was sentenced to six montlis R.I. from 
March 29, 1932 in Vellore and Madras Jails for participating in the 
Civil Disobedience Movement. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


121 


Sitaramamma, Tenniru 

Sitaramamma, Tenniru was a resident ot Guntur district She 
was twice arrested while distnbuting pamphlets during tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement. 

Soubhagyamtna, Kaja 

Soubhagyamma, Kaja was bom in 1905 to Paruchuri Venkayya. 
Her husband was Venkata Subbayya and they were residents of Voleru 
in Repalle taluk. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement 
and underwent six months S.I. from April 17, 1933 in Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails. She was also courted fifteen months R.I. during the 
Quit India Movement of 1942. 

Srirajyalakshmamma, Devineni or Srirajitham 

Srirajyalakshmamma, Devineni was the daugther of Mandara 
Venkataramayya who also took part in the 1932 Movement and went 
to jail. She was the resident of Peddapulivarru in Repalle taluk. She 
underwent six months R.I. from January 25, 1932 in the Vellore and 
Cannanore Jails for her participation in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 

Subbanuna, Mantena 

Subbamma, Mantena was another lady from Mantenavaripalem 
in Bapatla taluk. She was arrested while picketing during tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was taken to the outskirts of 
the village and let off. 

Subbamma, Dantuluri 

Subbamma, Dantuluri was the daughter of Mantena Bapi Raju. 
She was a child widow and stayed m her mother's place at 
Mantenavaripalem. Inspired by her brother Kanunuri Katam Raju's 
participation in the Freedom Movement, she too participated in 
picketing of foreign cloth at ChiraJa. She was sentenced to six montlis' 
S.I. in the Vellore Jail. She died in 1967. 

Subbamma, Penumetcha 

Subbamma, Penumetcha was a resident of Guntur district. She 
was arrested at Mantenavaripalem while picketing during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was taken to a lonely place, 
on the outskirts ot the village and let off. 

Sundaramma, Gutta 

Another couple associated with the Civil Disobedience Move- 
ment and went to jail was Sundaramma and her husband Chalamayya 
Gupta. Her father was Kottapalli Atchayya. She was sentenced on 
January 28, 1932 to one years' R.I. in Vellore, Cannanore, and Madras 
Jails. She died in 1937. 



122 


Women of Andhra m die Freedom Struggle 


Tulasamma, Tummala 

Tulasamma, Tummala was boni m 1912 u> Nagalla Moulayya. 
She was married to T. Apparao and became a die resident of Kavuru 
She took part m the Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1930 and imderwent 
imprisonment. She again took part in the Civil Dusobediem Movement 
of 1932 at Bapada and Repalle by picketing courts She underwent 
six months R.I. from May 11. 1932 at Vellore Jail. Scxni after her 
release she died in December 1932 due to heart attack. 
Venkamma, Gattu 

Venkamma, Gattu was a resident of Pamidimarru in Repalle 
taluk. She underwent imprisonment during die Civil Disobedience 
Movement in 1932. 

Venkamma, Mantena 

Venkamma, Mantena was a resident of Guntur district. She 
was arrested while picketing at Mantenavaripalem during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was diken to a lonely place 
on the outskirts of the village and let off. 

Venkamma, Suryadevara 

Venkamma, Suryadevara was a resident of Tentili. She took 
part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She wtis arrested and 
released. 

Venkayamma, Gollamudi 

Venkayamma, Gollamudi along with her husband G. Pitchayya 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement and went to jail. 
She was sentenced to four months imprisonment from August 10, 1932 
to December 9, 1932 in Vellore Jail. 

Venkayamma, Ravella 

Venkayamma, Ravella was a resident of Chebrolu in Tenali 
taluk. Her father was Devabhaktuni Ramayya. She Ux)k part in die 
Civil Disobedience Movement and underwent ten months imprison- 
ment from March 16, 1933 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She was 
also associated with the Individual Satyagraha and the Quit India 
Movement, and again went to jail. 

Venkata Narasamma, Tatta 

Venkata Narasamma, Tatta was bom in 1910 to Samudrala 
Venkata Seshacharyulu and Tayaramma. She was thC' wife of Tatta 
Veera Raghavacharyulu. As her husband married another women, she 
stayed with her brother at Madras. She took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and suffered six months R.I. from January 
25, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She followed the constmetive 
work of spinning and wearing khadi. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


123 


KRISHNA DISTRICT 

Amrutamma, Erneni 

Amrutamma was bom in 1905 to Boppana Venkatadri and 
Ramamma She was married to Emem Suryanarayana, the brother of 
Emeni Subramanyam. She lived in a joint family where everyone 
was a follower of Gandhiji and the entire family took part in the 
freedom struggle. They were all residents of Angalore in Gudivada 
taluk. She was associated with the Non-cooperation Movement of 
1920, and the No Tax Campaign of 1922 in Guntur and all other 
Satyagraha Movements. She was arrested and sentenced on January 
18, 1932 to one year SI and a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default further 
6 weeks SI for her participation in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement. 
She was incarcerated in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She led the 
women for defying orders to break the seal on the Gandhian Ashram 
at Komaravolu on October 2, 1931 

As an inmate of the Ashram, she carried out the constructive 
work of Gandliiji viz. propagating Khadi spinning and wearing Khadi, 
picketing before foreign goods shops and liquor shops, Harijan 
upliftment and inspiring a large number of women. She along with 
her family members donated everything to Gandhiji including her gold 
mangalyam. When around 16 women belonging to her family and 
friends circle went to jail she prepared their daughters for participation. 
She took part in the Quit India Movement of 1942 and suffered IV 
2 months R.I. Once again she was convicted under the Defence India 
Rules and was sentenced on February 5, 1943 to six months RI in 
the Vellore Jail. Finally .she was sentenced on August 21, 1943 to 
18 months RI in the Vellore Jail. Thus, she underwent imprisonment 
thrice during tlie Quit India Movement and had a very long jail life. 

Ankamma, Korrapati 

Ankamma, Korrapati was the wife of Sivarama Krishnayya and 
was a resident of Kaptanivari Palcm. She donated all her ornaments 
to Gandhiji when he visited Divi taluk. She led the women volunteers 
during the Civil Disobedience Movement. She picketed before the 
liquor shops and propagated kliadi. 

Annapurnamma, Surapaneni 

Annapumamma Surapaneni was the wife of Nagayya. They 
were residents of Garikaparru in Vijayawada taluk. Her father was 
Pothuri Venkayya. She took part in the Civil Disobeidence Movement 
and was sentenced to months RI from September 23, 1932 and 
sent to Vellore Jail. 



124 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Annapurnamma, Vallabhaneni 

Annapumamma Vallabhaneni was bom in 19{K) at Godavarru 
of Vijayawada taluk. Her husband was V. Anjayya She participated 
m the Civil Disobedience Movement <md was sentenced on August 
31, 1932 to one year's RI in Vellore and Cannanore Jiuls. 

Andalamma 

Andalamma was a resident of Gudivada. She Uxik part in die 
freedom struggle and ran a harijan hostel. 

Anasuya, Koneru 

Anasuya, Koneru was a daughter of Tripuraneni Durvasulu and 
married Koneru Raghavayya. She became a resident of Machilipatnam, 
in Bandar taluk. She passed Visarada and Vidwan in Hindi. She 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced 
on January 18, 1932 to one year imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100/ 
- or in default, six weeks further imprisonment. She was interned 
in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 

Anasuya, Koneti 

Koneti Anasuya was the daughter of Venkataramayya and a 
resident of Telaprolu in Gannavaram taluk. She underwent six montlis 
RI from January 22, 1932 in Vellore Jail for her participation in the 
Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Annapurnamma, Malireddi 

Annapumamma, Malireddy was a resident of Janardhanapuram 
in Gudivada taluk and her father was G. Lakshmi Reddy. She was 
the wife of Raghava Reddy. She took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was sentenced on March 16, 1932 to 10 months SI 
in the VeUore and Cannanore Jails. 

Annapurnamma, Suryadevara 

Annapumamma Suryadevara was bom on June 15, 1908. at 
Vemulapalli in Divi taluk. Her father was Vesireddy Nagayya. She 
was the wife of Venkatappayya. They were residents of Veerulapadu 
in Nandigama taluk. She was arrested for having participated in the 
Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1930 but was released immediately. She 
was again arrested and sentenced on January 26, 1932 to one year 
RI and a fine of Rs. 50/- for her participation in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was interned in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She 
was also associated with the Individual Satyagraha, the Quit India 
Movement and the Anti-Nizam stmggle in tlie Hyderabad State. She 
started girls schools at Ranganayakulu Palem and Veerulaypadu in the 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


125 


Nandigama taluk where free education was provided. She worked 
for the propagation of Hindi and Khadi Movements. She organcsed 
Mahila Sevadal Sibirams in 1943 She was a member of Krishna 
District Mahila Mandal. She was the organiser ot Taluk Mahila 
Mandal She was a member of the Congress Working Committee 
of Nandigama taluk and Vice-President of the Zilla Parishat. She ran 
a library at Chebrolu. 

Balamma, Donepudi 

Balamma, Donepudi was a resident of Ghantasala in Divi taluk. 
Her father was Vemuri Lakshmayya and her husband was Sitaramayya. 
She participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1931 and was 
sentenced to imprisonment. 

Balatripura Sundaramma, Ayyadevara 

Balatripura Sundaramma, Ayyadevara was bom in 1904. She 
was a resident of Nandigama and joined Congress in 1919 as a 
volunteer at Madras Congress session. She responded to the call of 
the Nation and participated in the picketing of foreign clotli and otlier 
activities in 1931. She worked for the propagation of charka and khadi. 
She resigned her job in response to the call of Gandhiji in 1941 and 
offered Individual Satyagraha and worked for the promotion of 
women's upliftment. She served as a Hon. Home Superintendent of 
the Hindu Women Widow Marriage Society. 

Bharatamma, Koneru 

Bharatamma, Koneru was the daughter of Tripuraneni Durvasulu. 
Her husband was K. Veeraraghavayya and they were residents of 
Tamirisa in Gudivada taluk. Both of them took part in the Salt 
Satyagraha Movement in 1930. She was convicted for one year's RI 
and a fine of Rs. 100/-. She gave birth to a child in the jail and 
named him after Madan Mohan Malaviya. She picketed foreign cloth 
shops at Gudivada on March 31, 1932. She was arrested but let off 
after taking her to the outskirts of the village. She also took part 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced to one year, 
RI on May 2, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. Her sisters also 
took part in tlie freedom struggle and went to jail. 

Durgamba, Sunkara 

Durgamba, Sunkara was the daughter of Anne Kotayya. She 
got married to Sunkara Suryantu'ayana and were residents of Mudnur 
in Gannavaram taluk. She look part in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement while she was a child of 10. She was kept in remand 
for 10 days. 



126 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


Hanumayamma, Chagarlamudi 

Hanumayamma, Chagarlamudi was bom ;n 1910 to Patibandla 
Venkataramayya. She was a child widow but was again remarried 
to Ch. Venkataramayya. They were re.sidenis ot Veerulapadu. Both 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and went to jail. She 
took part in picketing of foreign clotli shops and was sentenced to 
six months RI from March 24, 1932 in Vellore and Madras Jails. She 
was a member of tlie Krishna District Congress Board and us Vice- 
President later on. She propagated the boycott ol foreign cloth for 
2 months in the rural areas and was arrested and kept in remand for 
15 days in th sub-jail before her imprisonment. 

Kamakshamma, Kesavaraju 

Kamakshamma, Kesavaraju was a resident of Machilipatnam 
and her father was Venaktappayya. She took ptm in die Salt 
Satyagraha Movement and was sentenced on November 19, 1930 to 
six months SI in the Vellore Jail. She was released on March 7, 
1931 due to the Gandhi-Irwin pact. She was again sentenced to six 
months SI from January 18, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails for 
taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Kameswaraitima, Chagarlamudi 

Kameswaramma, Chagarlamudi along with her husband Ch. 
Brahmananda Rao participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement 
and went to jail. They were residents of Ventrapragada in Gudivada 
taluk. Her feather was VeUenki Venkataramayya. She was arrested 
on May 25, 1932 at Nandivada and was sentenced on June 27, 1932 
to one year RI and sent to Vellore and Cannanore Jails and fined 
Rs. 400/- but this was not collected. 

Kamalamma, Duggirala 

K a m ala m ma, Duggirala was bom on November 20, 1908 to 
Tripuraneni Janaki Ramayya. She was the wife of Duggirala Balarama 
Krishnayya. They were residents of Angalur in Gudivada taluk. She 
was very much influenced by her husband and both participated in 
the freedom struggle and underwent jail life. She was a staunch 
follower of Gandhian ideals and implemented his constructive 
programmes like spinning, wearing and propagation of Khadi, pick- 
eting before foreign goods and liquor shops, harijan upliftmcnt etc. 
She made her people spin everyday and inspired the other women 
to spin, and wear khadi regularly. She took part in the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement at the age of 22 and was sentenced on January 27, 1931 
to 4 months SI in Vellore Jail. But, she was released on March 7, 
1931 on account of Gandhi-Irwin Pact. She again underwent six 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


127 


months SI from January 6, 1932 in Vellore jail for participating in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement 
Kanaka Durgamba, Ghantasala 

Kanaka Durgamba, Ghantasala derived inspiration from her 
husband. Dr Ghantasala Sitarama Sarma, an active freedom fighter 
in the district. She was a resident of Bandar. She was bom in 1900 
and her father was Nanduri Gopala Krishnayya. She was influenced 
by Gandhiji and followed his constructive programmes such as 
spinning, wearing Khadi and propagation of Khadi among women 
through Mahila Mandals. She participated in Prabhat Pheris. She 
took part in the Salt Satyagraha. Along with other women she prepared 
and sold salt. She was issued a warrant but was not arrested. She 
extended her full cooperation to her husband. She worked intensively 
for the establishirient of libraries, Mahila Mandals, and for the removal 
of untouchability. 

Kousalya, Tripuraneni 

Kousalya, Tripuraneni, bom in 1900, was the daughter of 
Arekapudi Brahmayya. After her marriage with Tripuraneni Anjayya, 
she became a resident of Angalur in Gudivada taluk. Her mother 
and brother also participated in the national movement and went to 
jail. She participated in the Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1930. She 
was awarded one year’s RI and a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default further 
6 weeks RI. She picketed foreign cloth shops at Gudivada during 
the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was lathi charged by the police 
severely and mercilessly and as a result she became unconscious. She 
was once again sentenced to one year RI from April 18, 1932 and 
sent to Vellore and Cannanore Jails. She worked for the promotion 
of Khadi and Harijan upliftment. She undertook fast for 20 days for 
getting entry to the Haiijans to the Angalur temple. She died in 1958. 
Kousalya Devi, P. 

Kousalya Devi, was also a resident of Krishna district. She 
participated in the picketing- at Gudivada on February 19, 1932 during 
the Civil Disobedience Movement. The police splashed coloured water 
on her face and insulted her and then let her off. 
Krishnavenamma, Cherukuri 

Kri.shnavenamma was a resident of Tamirisa in Gudivada taluk. 
She was the wife of Ch. Seshayya. She participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was sentenced on June 25, 1932 to one 
year's RI in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 

Kutumbamma, Gorrapati 

Kutumbamma was bom in 1905 to Veeramachaneni Bhushayya. 



128 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


She along with her husband. Pandita Venkata Subbayya, participated 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement and went to jail They were 
residents of Ghantasala. While picketing at her place belore tlie toddy 
shops she was arrested and sentenced to tliree montlrs RJ on March 
29, 1933. She was a good writer in Hindi and Sanskrit and wrote 
many books. 

Lakshmamma, Guttikonda 

Lakshmamma belonged to Krishna district. She took part in the 
Salt Satyagraha Movement and was awarded six montlis jail and fine 
of Rs. 200/- in 1930. 

Lakshmamma, Koganti 

Lakshmamma, Koganti was a resident of Pamidimukkala in 
Gannavaram taluk. Her father was Kauthamaneni Surayya. She was 
the' wife of Subbayya. She took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was lathicharged. She was sentenced on 25-4-1932 
to six months RI and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default further six 
weeks RI in Vellore Jail. As she refused to pay die fine, her house 
was confiscated and later she was let off. 

Lakshmi Kantamma, Boppana 

Laksbmi Kantamma, Boppana was a resident of Garikaparru 
in Vijayawada taluk. She was sentenced to imprisonment for preparing 
salt at Neppalli Village in April 1932 during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 

Lakshmikantamma, Gorrepati 

Lakshmikantamma, Gorrepati was bom in 1907 to Vemuri 
Veeraima. She along with her husband, G. Narasimham participated 
in the freedom struggle and went to jail They were residents of 
Ghantasala in Divi taluk. She was arrested while picketing toddy shops 
on March 29, 1933 at her village. She was sentenced to 3 months 
imprisonment on April 2, 1933. 

Lakshmi Kantamma, Kollipara 

Lakshmi Kantamma, Kollipara was a resident of 
Kapileswarapuram in Gannavaram taluk. Her husband was Veerayya 
and her father was Tatineni Chinna Kotayya. She went to Kakinada 
Congress as a volunteer. She donated, spontaneously her gold bangles 
to Gandhiji when he visited her place. She was arrested while 
picketing the toddy shops at Madumuru on April 1 1, 1932. She was 
first remanded for one week at Bandar sub-jail. She was sentenced 
for 6 months from May 2. 1932 to November 1, 1932 at Vellore Jail. 
She was a member of District Congress from 1933-1935. She worked 
as Secretary for Grama Mahila Sangh. She also took part in tlie 
Individual Satyagralia and die Quit India Movement and went to jail 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


129 


in 1940 and 1942. respectively 
Lakshmikantamma, Venigandia 

Lakshmikantamma, Venigandia was bom in 1899 She was 
a resident of Kommamuru in Gannavaram taluk She took part in 
tlie 1932 Civil Disobedience Movement. She died in 1941. 
Lakshmi Narasamma, Gonuguntla 

Lakshminarasamma was a resident of Gudivada. Her father 
was Tummalapalli Venkata Narasu She along witli her husband, 
Venkata Subramanya Gupta, participated in the freedom struggle and 
went to jail. They were the residents of Gudivada. Her son also 
went to jail while picketing during the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
The police splashed coloured water on her several times. She was 
arrested and let off at a distant place. Finally, she was sentenced 
to one year’s R.I. from May 2, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
She again participated in the Individual Satyagraha of 1940. and tiie 
Quit India Movement of 1942. She was a member of Gudivada City 
Congress Executive Committee. She was a Municipal Councillor of 
Gudivada town. She worked for Harijan welfare She started and 
managed Harijan Girls Hostel at Gudivada 
Leelavathi, Erneni 

Leelavatlii belonged to the famous Emeni family wherefrom 
children to old people took part in tlie freedom struggle. She was 
a resident of Angalur in Gudivada taluk. Her father was Vallabhaneni 
Janaki Ramayya. She was tlie wife of Emeni Sadhu Subramanyam, 
the founder of Komaravolu Gandhian Asliram. The whole family was 
influenced by Gandhiji and took part in the struggle Her eighty years 
old motlier-in-law as well as her inftint baby Praphulla Kumari went 
to jail. Being the inmates of die Ashram she along with odiers 
propagated Satyagraha principles. She was arrested during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement aid was .sentenced on January 18, 1932 to 
one year’s S.I. and a fine of Rs. 1(X)/- or in default further 6 weeks 
S.I., and was sent to Vellore and Canntuiore Jails. She was imprisoned 
3 more times between 1940-1945. She was trained in Wardha for 
2 years. She letuiit MaraUii and Hindi. 

Mahalalcshmamma, Arekapudi 

MaJiakikshmamma, Arekapudi was a resident of Angaluru in. 
Gudivada taluk. Arekapudi Ramaswami wds her husband. She took 
part in the picketing of foreign clodi shops at Gudivada on March 
31, 1932. She was arre.sted £tnd let off on the outskirts of the village 
by the police When .she again took part in the picketing, .she was 
.sentenced on Msiy 2, 1932 to one year R.I. and .sent to Vellore piil. 



130 Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Mahalakshmamma, Nadendla 

Mahalakshmamma, Nadendla was boni in 1900 She was a 
resident of Mudnur in Gannavaram laliik. Her husband N. Appayya 
was a Congress worker. She took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was sentenced on May 2, 1932 to six months' R.I. 
and a fine of Rs. 100/-, or in default, further 4 weeks R.I. She did 
not pay the fine. She was interned for 7 montlis in the Vellore Jail. 
Mallikamba, Ghanta 

She along witli her husband Veeraraghavayya ptu-ticipated m 
the freedom struggle and went to tail. She was a resident of 
Ankannagudem, Gudivada taluk. Her fatJier was Yelanianchali 
Kotayya. She was born in 1911 at Taminsa. While picketing tlie 
foreign cloth shops all women volunteers were arrested and let off 
every day at a distance of 10 miles. But these women used to ctimc 
back with more vigour and enthu.siasm and continued picketing. She 
was sentenced in the 1930 Salt Satyagnilia Movement ui one year 
imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100/-, or in default, furtlier six weeks 
imprisonment. She picketed again foreign clotli shops at Gudivada 
on March 31, 1932 and was .sentenced to one year's R.I. in Vellore 
and Cannanore Jails. She went to jail along witli her nine montlis 
old child in arms. 

Mangatayaranuna., Kotagiri 

Mangatayaramma was a resident of Sobbala nciir Gampalagudem 
in Tiruvur taluk. She took part in the Salt Satyagnilia Movement of 
1930. She was arrested at Nettaru and was sentenced to six months 
imprisonment in the Vellore jail. 

Manikyamba, Arekepudi 

Manikyamba was bom in 1870. She was a re.sideiit of Angalur 
in Gudivada taluk. Her husband was A. Brahmayya. Her son and 
daughter also went to jail along witli her in 1930 for participating 
in the Salt Satyagraha. She was sentenced to one year.s' imprisonment 
on May 2, 1932 and a fine of Rs. 1000/- in Vellore and Ctmnanore 
Jails. As she did not pay tlie fine, she had to undergo furtlier six 
weeks imprisonment. She died in 1948. 

Nagaratnamma, Kanneganti 

Nagaratnamma was a resident of Tamiri.sa of Gudivada taluk. 
Her husband was Subbay ya. She was bom in 1908. She took part 
in the picketing of foreign cloth shops at Gudivada on March 31. 1932. 
She was arrested and let off at a far away place. She took part m 
the picketing again and was sentenced on May 2, 1932 to one year's 
R.I. in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


131 


Nancharamma, Nadendia 

Nancharamma was a resident ot Mudunur in Gannavaram taluk. 
Her father was Nadendia Appayya. As a girl of eleven, she participated 
in the 1932 Civil Disobedience Movement along with her mother. She 
was kept in remand for a few days in die sub-jail and let off. 
Punnamma, Potiuri 

Punnamma, Potiuri was bom in 1900 to Chigurupati Seshayya 
couple. She was married to Potiuri Perayya and became a resident 
of Zamigolvapalli in Gudivada taluk. She took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was arrested on May 28, 1932 and was 
sentenced on June 25.1932 to one year's imprisonment and a fine of 
Rs. 200/- The fine was realised by auctioning front doors of her 
house. She was imprisoned in the Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
Punnamma, Yekkala 

Punnamma, Yekkala was a resident of Krishna district. She 
had participated in the picketing on March 1, 1932 during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was arrested and taken to a distant place 
and let off. 

Purnatilakam 

Pumatilakam was a resident of Gudivada. Her husband was 
Rama Kotayya. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
She was sentenced on March 3, 1931 to six months S.I. in the Vellore 
Jail. She was relea.sed on March 7, 1931 as a result of Gandhi-Irwin 
Pact. 

Putlamma, Gadireddi 

Putlamma was bom in 1911 to Kondapalli Venkata Reddy 
couple. She was the wife of Raghava Reddy and they were residents 
of Nandivada in Gudivada taluk. She was arrested between 1931- 
1932 while distributing Congress bulletins at Ravulapadu and kept 
under police watch. She was sentenced to 10 montlxs R.I. on 16- 
3-1933 while participating in Women's Maha Sabha ai Guntur. She 
was incarcerated in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. But, she was released 
on August 31, 1933 as a result of Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 
Raghavamma, Koganti 

Raghavamma was a resident of Pamidimukkala in Gannavaram 
taluk. She was lathi charged by women police while distributing 
Congress pamphlets on April 12, 1932 during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. 

Rajamma, Ramineni 

Rajamma was a resident of Garikaparru in Vijayawada taluk. 
Her fatlier was Potiuri Venkayya. Her sister Surapanem Annapumamma 
and her husband akso particiapted in the freedom struggle and went 



132 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


to iail She took part in tlie 1930-31 Civil Disoedience Movement. 
She was arrested and kept in Guntur sub-pul hut was released as a 
part of the Gandhi-Irwm Pact. She agiun participated in ihe Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1932 vShe was sentenced on January 23, 
1932 to one year's R.I. in the Vellore and Canntuiore Jails. 
Rajyalakshmamma, Kanuri 

RajyaJakshmamma along witli her husband Kanuri Venkata 
Subbarao took part in tlie freedom struggle and went to jail. They 
were residents of Bethapudi in Repalle taluk. Her father was 
Devabhaktuni Subbayya. She took part in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement and was .sentenced to one years' R.I. from Janutiry 28, 
1932 in Vellore and Cannanore jails. She was the Vice-President of 
Gudivada Taluk Congre.ss Committee between 1952-56. She served 
as a member of the District Congress Committee. She died on May 
19th 1973. 

Ramatnma, Guttikonda 

Ramamma, Guttikonda was a resident of Pamidimukkala in 
Gannavaram taluk. Her father was Kantamaneni Somayya. She wa.s 
the wife of G. Brahmayya. She took part in the Civil Di.sobedience 
Movement of 1932. She was sentenced on 25-4-1932 to 6 months' 
R.I. and a fine of Rs.200/- or in default to undergo further 6 weeks 
R.I. in the Vellore jail. 

Ramanujamma, Panchangam 

Ramanujamma was a resident of Pichikalapudi Agraharam in 
Gudivada taluk. She was bom on July 1, 19{K) at Muktipalli 
Agraharam of Repalle taluk, Guntur Distirct. Her hushjmd was P. 
Krishnama Charyulu. She was sentenced on February 1, 1932 to 6 
months' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 25/- or in default further 6 weeks' R.I. 
in Vellore and Cannanore jails for her participation m the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. As she could not pay Uie fine, the 
Government auctioned all her property and she was sentenced to 
another 6 weeks imprsionment. 

Ratnamma, Penumetcha 

Ratnamma, Penumetcha was a resident of Krishna district. She 
took part in the picketing during the Civil Disobedience Movement 
of 1932. 

Rattamma, Yarlagadda 

Rattamma, Yarlagadda was a resident of Puritigadda in Divi 
taluk. She took part m a procession of the Congress party holding 
the National (Congress) Flag and singing the national songs at 
Vijayawada during the Civil Di.sobedience Movement of 1932. She 
was stopped and detained with force at tlie banks of Krishna river 
and was allowed to go home at midnight. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


133 


Ramasitamma, Katragadda 

Ramasitamma, Katragadda was bom m 1883 at Mandapam, 
Guntur taluk. She was a resident of Mogalrajapuram, Vijayawada. 
Her father and motlier were Nutakki Kondaiali and Nagatnma. Her 
husband was K. Rangaiah. She became a child widow and adopted 
a boy by name Katragadda Madhu Sudhana Rao who later became 
a great freedom fighter. He too participated in the struggle from 1920 
in all the movements and went to jail. She was a staunch Gandhian, 
she donated her gold ornaments twice to Gandhiji when he Visited 
Andhra. She followed Gandhian ideals and implemented constructive 
work. She was sentenced on January 28, 1932 to one years' R.I. and 
a fine of Rs. 400/- or in default further 12 weeks R.I. in Vellore and 
Madhura jails. She was imprisoned because she gave shelter to the 
freedom fighters who suffered lathi charges during the Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement. All her household articles, utensils, and gold 
ornaments were auctioned tO' realise the fine. 

During her imprisonment she had a paralytic stroke and was 
ill seriously. She was literally kept in mortuary but was not released 
from jail. She never regreted for her condition. She worked for the 
eradication of untouchability and Harijan upliftment. She supported 
and cooperated with her son Madhusudan Rao when he arranged 
conomunity dinner along with Harijans despite expulsion from the 
society by her close relatives. She died on September 4, 1973. 
Ramanamma, Anne 

Ramanamma was the mother of Anne Anjayya, who was a 
popular freedom fighter in the Krishna district. She gave encourage- 
ment and cooperation to her son and other freedom fighters. Her entire 
family was involved in tlie freedom struggle. 

Ran^anuna, Nadella 

Rangamma, Nadella was bom at Betapudi in Repalle taluk in 
Guntur district. She was the wife of Brahmayya and they were 
residents of Puritigadda in Divi taluk. She took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced on January 28, 1932 
for one year. She again partitipated in the Quit India Movement of 
1942, and was sentenced for 6 months from September 23, 1942. She 
died on April 26,1973. 

Saraswathamma, Gorrepati 

Saraswatamma, Goirepati was bom in 1908 to Vemuri Subbayya 
couple. Her husband Gorrepati Venkata Subbayya was associated with 
Congress and its movements. She gave her gold ornaments to Gandhiji 
when he visited. She followed the Gandhian principles. She was 
arrested while picketing toddy shops on March 29, 1933 at Ghantasala. 
She was convicted on April 2, 1933 for 3 months imprisonment. 



134 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Satyavatamma, Tummala 

Satyavatamma, Tummala was boni in 1902 at Tanunsa of 
Gannavaram taluk to Boppana Rangiuah. She was married to 
Ramakrishnayya and became a resident of Mudunur of the same taluk 
She took part m the Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1930 She was 
arrested while preparing salt at Bandar but she was let off at a distant 
place. She then participated in tlie picketing of foreign clotli at 
Vijayawada for 20 days. She was again arrested and let off. The 
police insulted her by splashing coloured water. She was made to 
stand the whole day without food in the hot sun. She was kept in 
Durga temple. She again picketed at Tadepalli and the punishment 
was repeated. Finally, when she was organising a bonfire of foreign 
cloth at Yalamaxxu she was arrested on May 2, 1932 for one year 
R.I. and a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default to undergo further one month 
R.I. in Vellore and Cannanore jails for six months each. 
Satyavatamma, Yelamanchili 

Satyavatamma was a resident of Krishna district. She collected 
foreign cloth at Elamarru Village and burnt it during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was arrested and convicted at Gudivada. 
Sitamma, Guttikonda 

Sitamma, Guttikonda was a resident of Chinakallepalli in Divi 
taluk. She was the wife of Atchayya. Along with Annapumamma 
Vallabhaneni and two other women she recaptured the Congress office 
at Bhatlapenumarru on 2-8-1932 which was under the control of the 
GovOTunent. She was arrested and sentenced to one years' R.I. on 
August 31, 1932 and sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for 
propagating Congress ideology. 

Sitamma, Kollipara 

Sitamma, Kollipara was bom on October 19, 1902 to Damineni 
Akkayya at Yarlagadda in Divi taluk. She was the wife of Venkayya 
and they were residents of Krishna district. She took part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement along with Nadendla Rangamma. She was 
sentenced on August 31, 1932 to one years' R.I. by the stationary sub- 
magistrate of Avanigadda and sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails. 
Sitamma, Varanasi 

Sitamma Varanasi was a resident of Krishna district. She 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. She was 
sentenced to 3 months imprisonment. 

Sitamma, Veeramachaneni 

Sitanuna, Veeramachaneni was a resident of Mudnur in 
Gannavaam taluk. She was lathi charged for her participation in the 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


135 


Civ'il Disobedience Movement of 1932 

Sitaramamma, Nutakki 

Sitaramamma was bom m 1914 She was tlie wife of N Gopala 
Krishnayya, who was a Congress worker. They were the residents 
of Komaravolu in Gudivada taluk. She was arrested on May 25, 1932 
and sentenced on June 27, 1932 to one year’s R.I in Vellore and 
Cannanore jails for her participation in tlie Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She gave birth to a child in the jail. She was released 
on April 17, 1933. But both mother and child died in 1934. 
Sitaramamma, Tangirala 

Sitararnamma a resident of Machilipatnam took part in the 
national struggle along with her husband Tangirala Veeraraghava Rao. 
She was the daughter of J. Gopala Krishnayya. She was in the freedom 
movement since her childhood and continued after marriage. She was 
encouraged by her husband, supported by her mother-in-law who was 
a Councillor of the town of Machilipatnam. Sitaramamma was inspired 
by Qandhiji when he visited her place. She took an active part as 
a volunteer in the meetings. She, became a staunch follower of 
Gandhiji and started wearing khadi and implemented the constructive 
programme especially the khadi hawking. She established a Charkha 
Sangh and organised spinning regularly by women of the locality. She 
took part in picketing before the shops of foreign goods and liquor. 
She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was arrested 
and let off while celebrating Independence Day on 26th January 1932. 
The police splashed coloured water on her while she was distributing 
pamphlets at Machilipatnam on January 27, 1932. She was sentenced 
to 12 months RI from May 2, 1932 and a fine of Rs. 500/- but was 
released after 7 months. She was pregnant when accompanied with 
her 1 Vj years daughter Ratnavali. She delivered a boy in the jail and 
named him as Subash after Subash Chandra Bose. She ran an Ashram 
at Gopannapalem near Eluru in West Godavari district. She served 
as Joint Secretary of the town Congress between 1931-32. 
Sitamahalakshmamma, Vallabhaneni 

Sitamahalakshmamma was bom on January 12, 1910 at 
Gudlavalleru, to Potluri Vengayya couple. She was married to 
Ramabrahmam and they were the residents of Jamigolvepalli in 
Gudivada taluk. During the Salt Satyagraha Movement the women 
were divided into groups. Sitamahalakshmamma led one such group 
to picket before foreign cloth shops, liquor shops, and defying Section 
144. She propagated the movement in the rural areas with a large 
group of women volunteers. The police who kept a watch on her 



136 


Women ol Andhra in die Freedt)m Struggle 


and warned her not U) leave the house When she and other women 
del led, tlie police splashed coloured water, dirty water, chilly powder, 
mud and even liquor on their laces. Some ol the women fell 
unconscious as tins water was tlirown at them with great force. All 
tliese women were arrested and lelt at distant lonely places. But none 
of tlie women were tired or di.sappointed but repealed tlieir action with 
more vigour. These women broke open tlic seals of die Sitanagaram 
and the Komaravolu Gandhi Ashrams a number of tmies. The police 
restricted the villagers by not allowing any sort of shelter or service 
to the Satyagrahis Those who violated were also .sentenced to 
imprisonment. She was sentenced on May 2, 1932 tind was released 
on April 11, 1933. While going back, she went to Tirchirapalli jail 
to visit her husband. The couple actively participated in the Satyagraha 
Movements for a number of times. Not .satisfied with picketing, she 
started a number Women Congress Societies in every village to spread 
the movement in every nook and comer. She organised a number 
of meetings in this connection. She was the Chairperson of die 
reception committee of a political meeting in East Krishna district held 
in connection with a 1937 elections. She was elected as a Congress 
candidate for the seat reserved for women. She was alsti associated 
with tlie Individual Satyagralia. She was die President of the Krishna 
District Mahila Sabha from 1937 to 1947. She was a member of 
the District Congress Board from 1939 to 1941. She .served the 
womens cause by establishing a number of Mahila Stmghams. She 
was elected an M.L.A. in die composite state of Madras from 1946 
to 1951. She also worked for the cause of Harijans and other weaker 
sections. 

Soubhagyamma, Cherukuri 

Soubhagyamma was a resident of Jamigolvcpalli in Gudivada 
taluk. She was the daughter of Kantamaneni Lakshmayya and wife 
of Bapayya. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She 
was sentenced on 2-5-1932 to one years’ R.I. in Vellore and Cannanore 
jails. She was die member of District Congress and worked in Mahila 
Sanghas. 

Sitaramayamma, Myneni 

Sitaramayamma was a resident of Kammamuru in Gannavaram 
taluk. Her father was Kottapalli Lakshminarayana. Her husband 
Myneni Venkata Subbayya also participated in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement in 1932 and went to jail. She was sentenced to one year's' 
R.F: on 21.1.1932 in Vellore and Cannanore jails along with her infant 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


137 


child for her participation in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement Thus 
the whole family had participated in the freedom struggle 
Sriranganayakamma Devi, Vallabhaneni 

Sriranganayakamma was a resident of Peda Mutiievi in Divi 
taluk Her father was Rajayya. Her husband Kasiviswanadham was 
a Congress worker and poet, who encouraged her to participate in 
the activities of Mahila Sangham etc 
Subbatnma, Gade 

Subbamma, Gade was a resident of Garikaparru in Vijayawada 
taluk. She was bom on August 20, 1908 at Yakamuru. Her father 
was Bommareddi Timpathi Reddy She was tlie wife of Sura Reddy. 
She was arrested and kept in remand for 10 days at Guntur sub-jail 
when she participated in tlie Salt Satyagraha Movement of 1931. She 
was released due to the Gandhi-lrwin Pact. Again in 1932, she 
picketed foreign clotli shops and toddy shops for one montli. As a 
result, she was arrrested at Kommamuru and sentenced to one year 
R.I. at Vijayawada. 

Subhadramma, Perambuduri 

Subhadramma, Perambuduri was bom in 1912 to Mamillapalli 
Ramanuja Chaiyulu couple She was the wife of Butchaya Charyulu 
They were residents of Vijayawada. She worked as Superintendent 
for Seva§adan at Madras. She took part in the Salt Satyagralia 
Movement. She was sentenced on June 13, 1930 to 6 months 
imprisonment in Vellore jail. She again participated in tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was sentenced to one years' R.I. She 
took her graduation in 1932 by appearing privately for the examination 
while undergoing imprisonment. 

Sugunamani, Arekepudi 

Sugunamani was bom in 1921 to Arekepudi Brahmayya. Her 
mother A. Manikyamma and her sister Tripuraneni Kausalya also went 
to jail. She offered Satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of 1932 at the age of 1 1, setting aside the advice of relatives 
and well wishers and even police Sub-Inspector. She was arrested 
and sentenced on May 2, 1932 to two years' R.I. and sent to the Madras 
Borstal school. Her entire family took part in the freedom struggle. 
Sundaramtna, Panuri 

Sundaramma, Panuri was a resident of Nandivada in Gudivada 
taluk. She had participated in tlie freedom movement along witli her 
husband P. Venkata Reddi. She was arrested and .sentenced on 
June 27, 1932 to one years' R.I. for her participation in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails 



138 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


for internment Her husband was a Congress worker and participated 
in all the Movements from 1930-1^42. She died in 196<) 

Sundaramtna, Padurthi 

Sundaramma, Padurthi was bom on December 21, 1902 at 
Brahmana Koduru in Guntur district to Maddi Lakshnu Ntirasimham 
and Annapumamma. Her father and brotliers were all freedom tighters. 
She was influenced by Gandhiji when she .saw him in 1920. She 
immediately took to Khadi wearing and boyctitting foreign gotxls. In 
1921 she accompanied her uncle Venkata Rtmgtuali. Duggirala Gopala 
Krishnayya, and Unnava Lakshmi Narayana to Chiraia and other 
villages and spoke in many meetings leaving her two small children 
in the house with her people. She developed strong will and initiative 
and picketed liquor shops in Kalahasti and Venkatagiri along with her 
younger sister Kolia Kanakavalli Tayaramma and oUiers. 

She participated in the Salt Satyagraha along witli Pcrmibudur 
Subhadramma and gave speeches at public meetings. She ctiuld inspire 
her children in such a way that one day her 8 year old son also spoke 
in a public meeting which inspired a large number of people. When 
Section 144 was imposed, she alone came out on to the streets and 
sang national songs. Everybody wondered at her courage and 
daringness. She was arrested on 26th August 1930 and sentenced 
to 6 months in Vellore jail. She spent her jail life wiili eminent leaders 
like Durgabayamma, Achanta Rukminamma, and Chundun Ratnamma. 
She was released on 26tli February 1931 due to the Gtuidhi-Irwin Pact. 
After release she along with her friend organised a stx;iety inviting 
women for welfare of women released from the jails. 

She attended the Congress sessions at Karachi, Bombay, 
Madras, Hyderabad, and Nagpur. When she came to kntiw tliat tlie 
father of Bhagat Sing was consoled by Gandhiji for his son's death, 
she became more firm and decided to work more vigorously. Everyday 
she performed Prabhat pheris, prayers, flag hoisting etc. When she 
was introduced to Gandhi, he praised her and advised her ^to cany 
on the constructive programme. She became a member of the A.I.C.C. 
She was the Vice-President of the Town Congress. She went to 
Bombay along with Devulapalli Satyavathamma, Durgabayamma and 
Ranganayakamma for training at the All India Women Sevadal. She 
underwent volunteer training at the camp and the training camp was 
closed when the Second Round Table Conference ended in a failure. 
Section 144 was again imposed and she was followed by the CID.s. 
She was sentenced again to 17 days imprisonment in the Guntur subjail 
for her hartal in protest to the arrest of Gandhiji and otlier leaders. 
She dressed herself like a patient and entered the college. She inspired 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


139 


the students ot A.C. College Guntur to boycott the college She was 
arrested and lett at Mangalagiri She prepared salt and inspired tlie 
people witli her speeches in 1930 at Bandar. She toured Bhatliprolu. 
Kuchipudi and Tenali along witli her sister Tayaramma and propagated 
the movement. The two sisters were arrested at Tcnali and tliey were 
detained in a police station for 3 days. They were asked to give an 
apology which they refused. So, tliey were sentenced to 6 montlis jail 
with a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default undergo IV, months further 
imprisonment in Vellore jail. They did not pay the fine. After release 
she started a Swadesi shop with goods from Allahabad, Gwalior, 
Lahore, Jhansi, Vishnupur and Calcutta. She was a member of the 
Andhra State Congress and of Town Congress Executive Committee. 
She was also a member of the Vijayawada Municipal Council for 
18 years. Bezawada was renamed as Vijayawada during this time. 
She was a member of die Harijan Hostel Managing Committee and 
a member of Local Maliila Sangha. 

She gave shelter to Satyagrahis of the Quit India Movement 
of 1942. On behalf of the Vijayawada Municipality, she took care 
of tlie people who ran away from Hyderabad during the Razakar 
Movement in 1948. For these refugees .she establi.shed a Match Factory 
which was inaugurated by Durgabai. About 3000 women had tlieir 
livelyhood tlierc. She was the President of many Vysya Meetings 
and attended the Vysya meetings at Madras, Mysore etc. 

Sundaramma carried out a number of social reforms. She 
propagated against child marriages and explained tlie people about tlie 
Sarada Act. She worked for women's education. She started a school 
for girls at Vijayawada and established an Ashnun at Hrishikesh. She 
was encouraged by her husbtuid in all her activities. 

Tulasamma, Davuhiri 

Tulasamma was a resident of Pasumarru m Gudivada taluk. She 
was die wife of D. Prakasa Rao. She was lathi charged while 
organising a meeting at Nagayatippa in Divi taluk, on January 20, 
1932. The police splashed coloured water at her face while she was 
distributing pamphlets on Bandar Road on January 27, 1932. She 
was arrested and let go in the midnight. She also organised another 
meeting at Pasumarru. She attended die Bombay Congress. 
Ushamani, Arekepudu 

Ushamani was bom in 1913. She was a resident of Angalur 
in Gudivada taluk. Her husband was Nagabhushansim She joined 
the Congress in 1929 She look ptirt in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of 1932 at £ui young age. While picketing a foreign cloth 
shop she was lathi chiirged by the police till she became unsconscious. 



140 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


She was sentenced on May 2, 1932 to one yesu^'s imprisonment in 
the Vellore and Cannanore fails. Her husband also participated m 
the movements and went to fail 
Varalakshmamma, Mikkilineni 

Varalak-shmamma, Mikkilineni was bom in 1915 to Chinguluru 
Rattayya couple. Her husband Venkata Subbay ya was also a freedom 
fighter and went to jail. Tliey were residents of Kapilcswarapuram 
in Gannavaram taluk. She partcipated in tlie Civil Disobedience 
Movement from Gudivada. She was sentenced on May 2. 1932 to 
6 months’ R.I and a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default had to undergo 
further one montlis' R.I. They underwent seven months' imprisonment 
in the Vellore Jail. 

Varalakshmamma, Paladugu 

Varalakshmamma, Paladugu was bom in 1905 to Chiguluru 
Venkayya couple. She along with her husband Venkata Subbarao 
participated in the struggle and went to jail. She ptirticipated in the 
bonfire of foreign cloth in 1931. While picketing a foreign cloUi .shop, 
the police threw coloured and dirty water on her face which made 
her unconscious. She was arrested on March 27, 1932 at Uyyuru 
and kept in lock up at Bandar where die women police searched her 
and took all the money and let her off at midnight. She Jioisted the 
national flag during die lesdval celebrations at Mudunuru. So she 
was arrested and left at Nuzvidu. She was again arrested and kept 
in remand for 4 days at Gudivada sub-jail and 48 days at Kaikaluru 
sub-jail. Then she was sentenced to 6 months R.I. and a fine of Rs. 
100/- or in default to undergo further one mondi R.I. vShe refused 
to pay the fine. She was pregnant when she was taken to jail. She 
delivered a female child. She died in 1948. 

Venkamma, Gummadi 

Venkamma was a resident of Jamigolvepalli in Gudivada taluk. 
She took part in the picketing at Gudivada during the Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement 1930-1932. 

Venkata Ratnamamba, Kalingi 

Venkata Ratnamamba was a resident of Vijayawada. She took 
part in the picketing of foreign cloth during the Civil Disobedience 
Movement of 1932. She was arrested and released^ 

Venkata Subbamma, Surapaneni 

Venkata Subbamma was bom in 1912 to Jogayya couple. Her 
husband Gopala Knshnayya also participated in the movement and 
went to jail. They were residents of Pamulapadu in Gudivada taluk. 
She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was arrested 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


141 


on May 25. 1932 and was sentenced on June 27. 1932 to one year's 
R I She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails lor inteniment 

Vimala Devi, Kolli 

Vimala Devi was a resident of Nuzvid. Her father was Taraka 
Brahmam. She was the wife of Venkata Dasu She took part in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. She was arrested and kept 
in sub-jails many times 
Veeraraghavamma, Sajja 

Veeraraghavamma was a resident of Kodur in Divi taluk. She 
was the daughter of Venkatappayya and wife of Venkataramayya. She 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was awarded 
one years' R.I. on August 31, 1932 She was sent to the Vellore 
and Cannanore jails for internment. 

Viyyamma, Cherukuri 

Viyyamma, Cherukuri was a resident of Garikaparru in 
Vijayawada taluk. Her father was Pallempalli Perayya. She was the 
wife of Lakshmipathi. She was awarded one years' imprisonment at 
Vuyyuru on March 27, 1932 for picketing foreign goods and liquor 
shops, but was let off at Vijayawada. She continued picketing and 
was sentenced on April 19, 1932 to 6 months R.I. in. Vellore and 
Madras jails. 

Viyyamma Ramineni 

Viyyaixim., imineni was a resident of Mudnur in Gannavaram 
Taluk. She i(x>k oait in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930. 
V ^c<><iamma, Potluri 

Vasodamma, Potluri was a resident of Krishna district. She 
partcipated in the C'lvil Disobedience Movement. She was arrested 
on May 23, 1932 at Gudivada. 

Yasodamma, Singarapu 

Yasodanima, Singarapu was a resident of Jamigolvepalli. in 
Gudivada taluk. She was the daughter of Vallabhaneni Venkataratnam. 
Her husband was Rama Sastrulu. She participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was awarded one years' R.I. on 
June 25, 1932. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for 
internment. She was also fined Rs. 200/- but that was not collected. 
Venkayamma, Tripuraneni 

Venkayamma, Tripuraneni was bom at Allinagar in Madira 
taluk in Khammam district. She was married to Tripuraneni 
Lakshminarayana and became the resident of Angaluru in Gudivada 
taluk. She was arrested at the age of 16 while picketing foreign cloth 
shops and distributing pamphlets in 1932 during the Civil Di.sobedience 



142 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Movement She was kept in remand for 15 days at Guiti sub-jail 
and was later released 
Venkata Ramanamma, Dulla 

Ramanamma was bom in 1900 in Tenah to Kommuru Sambasiva 
Rao and Venkata Subbamma. She was tlie sister ol popular writer 
Chalam. The family was quite forward and sent Ramanamma to 
school. She could not proceed after 7th Class as tliere was no school 
for higher classes. But she studied literature and used to read 
newspapers regularly. She was married to Dulla Pattabhi Ramayya 
and became a resident of Bandar. Her husband was a teacher and 
a nationalist. They were all by then influenced by Gandhiji and started 
wearing khadi. Ramanamma not only started wearing khadi but 
worked for the implementation of spinning and propagauon of khadi 
through a women's organisation. The first activity she took up was 
collection of donations from every house for Gandhiji who was fighting 
against racialism in South Africa at that time. The couple strictly 
followed the principles of Gandhiji and his Ashram rules, including 
Brahmacharya at home. Similarly, she collected whatever they could 
spare from every house to give it to Gandhiji. She then decided to 
start an organisation for women for the implementation of Gandhiji’s 
constmctive programme. Along with her friend, Malladi Venkata 
Ramanamma, she started the Mahila Seva Mandali in 1939 with 10 
members and with 4 Annas CRs. 0.25) as membership fee. She worked 
for the promotion of literacy among women. She collected books 
from every house and formed a library for the Mandali. She arranged 
tailoring facilities but still the income to the Mandali was low. Then 
she staged a drama and earned a huge amount. With this money she 
started a reading room, Hindi classes, library, and Balanandam. Then 
she began to concentrate her interest in the promotion of Harijan 
upliftment. She along with other members visited Harijan Colony and 
encouraged the children to come to school. She used to distribute 
sweets on the occasion of national festivals. During those days, the 
Mandali under her leadership used to participate in the prayers, prabhat 
pheris, processions and conducted Khadi hawking. She was a good 
singer and used to sing patriotic national songs and inspire everyone. 
The Mandali became popular but financially very weak. She then 
introduced a novel method of collecting fee for the membership i.e.. 
every member should give 2 spindles of yam to the Mandali as fee. 
This yam was sent to khadi committees for exchange of money. 
Durgabai as the Chairman of Central Social Welfare Board sanctioned 
Rs. 5,000/- for the building constmction. Through annual celebrations 
and collecting money from every house Ramanamma accumulated 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


143 


some money The Mandali started getting an annual grant of Rs 2,000/ 
- from 1955 and this increased its activities. Ramanamma though 
did not go to jail, had participated in the picketing and involved many 
women including her own family members in political activities. She 
died on May 20, 1988. 

Vidya Devi Omprakash 

She was the daughter of Dulla Venkata Ramanamma and 
Pattabhi Ramaiali. Her mother was a great social worker and a staunch 
follower of Gandhiji. So, spinning, and wearing khadi became a part 
of life in the family. She used to participate in the Prabhat pheries, 
National week celebrations, vis ting Harijan slums, preaching and 
propagating Gandhian principles. Shejiad a melodious voice which 
she used to sing the Bajans and the songs on Bapu. She inherited 
the spirit of service from her mother. She took Hindi classes in the 
Mahila Mandal started by her mother. 

Her faUier was a nationalist and her mother was a Brahmo. 
The family had the influence of Bipinchandra Pal and Dr. Annie 
Besant. So there were both nationalist and religious tendencies in 
the family. Her father remained in the background and let the wife 
and children participate in the nationalist activities. In 1934, the 
Mahila Mandal in Bandar collected through their programmes some 
amount for the Bihar earth quake relief fund: She was deeply 
influenced by Gandliiji and participated in the Quit India Movement 
but was not arrested as she was the daughter of the teacher of the 
police. She felt sorry and unlucky for that. She studied law and 
became a lawyer. But she was very much interested in Sevagram. 
She wanted to see Bapu and become his close disciple and serve the 
nation. On the advice of Durgabm she went to Sevagram to have 
training in Kasturba Trust and to implement Gandhian ideals for 
womens development. She was accompanied by Butchi Krishnamma, 
Samrajyam, Subhadra, -Sarala Devi, Kesaramma, Ramanamma, and 
Kamalamma. The training was for one year. From Sevagram, she 
came to Sitanagaram Kasturba Trust where a training centre was started 
for girls in cottage industries. She was Sanchalika in Sitanagaram. 

When Durgabai became a member of the Constituent Assembly, 
Vidya Devi became the organiser of Andhra Kasturba Trust. On the 
advice of Gandhiji, she visited many villages where she established 
Grama Sevika Training centres. She brought coordination between 
the centre and local bodies and improved the conditions of women 
in the villages. She met Gandhiji in 1947. She became a member 
of the Basic Education Board. While in Sevagram, she was influenced 
by Vinobaji. She immediately joined him in Padayatra in Bihar. She 




144 


Women of Andhra in tlie Freedom Struggle 


became the officer incharge ot tlie Bhudan Movement Wliile in Bihar 
she married Omprakash Gupta who was a freedom fighter and a close 
associate of Gandhiji She established training centres to tram people 
in organising Bhudan Movement In 1954. she established tin Ashram 
at Sukiiodevera in Gaya district along witli Prabhavatlii Jaya Prakash 
Narayan, through which Sarvodaya principles were propagated. Adult 
education was provided for women, and an Amber Charka School and 
cottage industries were set up in this Ashram. She conducted research 
through the Gandhi Peace Foundation on women and tlieir problems 
and Gandhiji's views. She settled in Hyderabad from 1964 at 
Firjadiguda near Uppal. Till 1971 she worked in tlie Andhra Branch 
-of the Kasturba Trust. She tried to uplift the women and make diem 
self-sufficient and self-reliant Uirough various activities tif die Trust. 

She conducted condensed courses for women with die coop- 
eradon of die Central Social Welfare Board. She had die membership 
in Gandlii Smarak Nidhi. Sarvodaya Mandali, F*rohibition Committee, 
Kasturba Gandhi Centenary Celebradons Committee at the nauonal 
level as well as state level and was the Secretary of die Andhra Pradesh 
Constructive Programme Committee. She is a good speaker, writer, 
and singer. She had close association with Gandhiji, Vinoba and Jaya 
Prakash Narayan. It was due to their influence, she .says, that she 
could walk 16 miles a day in mid-summer. 

NELLORE DISTRICT 

Bala Saraswathamma, Paturi 

The couple Bala Saraswadiamma and P. Subbaramayya pardci- 
pated in the freedom struggle and went to jail. They published a 
newspaper called "Simhapuri" and a monthly magazine "Sasi". 
Simhapuri used to narrate the various events of the freedom struggle. 
Subbaramayya was associated with revolutionary movement. Tlie 
couple were influenced by Gandhiji and took part in the movements. 
They were residents of Nellore. She underwent imprisonment on two 
occasions during the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930-32. She 
was a member of the Municipal Council of Nellore. She died on 
September 14, 1975. 

Butchikrishnamma, Digumarthi 

Butchikrishnamma was bom in 1900. She was the daughter of 
Damerla Venkata Ramana Rao and wife of Digumarthi Hanumantha 
Rao. She is now a resident of Sitanagaram of East Godavari district. 
She belonged to a middle class brahmin family. She had primary 
eduction and adult education and passed Hindi Visarada. She was 
the sister of the famous artist Damerla Rama Rao and developed this 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


145 


art and won die laudataries of Gandhiji She worked along with her 
husbtuid in Servants of India, a Haxijan organisation. The couple 
sttirted tlio Pinakini Aslirtmi at Pallepadu near Nellore for tlie Htu'ijans. 

Butchikrishnamma partcipated in the freedom struggle as a 
SatyagraJii, constructive worker, and a true Gandhian. She was 
inspired by GandJii|i and was encouraged by her own people. She 
participated in tlie Salt and the Civil Disobedience Movements from 
her childhood Even after marriage, as a Gandhian, she followed 
Bralimacharya. She implemented tire constructive programme of 
Gandhiji such as Akhanda Sutrayagnam, picketing of foreign goods 
and liquor shops upliftment of Harijans. She organised Mahila 
Mandals tlirough which a number of women were involved in the 
progrimmre She propagated klradi. When tire police followed her, 
sire used to make thenr carry the Khadi loads. She was very much 
inspired by Gandhiji. Her husband and his brothers were all involved 
deeply in tire national movement. She could not go to jail as her 
lather convinced her to run tire Pallepadu Ashram. She had training 
at Sevagnmr for ten months. She propagated Congress through 
playlets, dramas and songs. 

She was an excellent artist. She won prizes in tire All India 
Art E.xlribition turd al.so nr exhibitions in England. When Gandhiji 
was slurt dead, she had a shock and could not recover for two days. 
She had a dream, in which Gandhiji appciu'cd and advised her not 
to waste her ume in weeping for him but show her skill in art. Witli 
that inspiration she got up and painted in ti week, tire deatli scene 
at Gandhiji depicting Bharauimata holding tailing Gandhi in her lap 
witlr tears in her eyes. This ptiinting still lies in the Bapukutir in 
Sitanagjirani Ashram where once Bapu turd Ba shiyed when they visited 
tins place 

Chenchu Lak.shmamma 

Chenchu Lakslimturrmti was a resident of Varakavipudi in 
Nellore District. Her husband was Pola Reddy. She took part in tire 
Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced on Februtiry 8. 
1932 to six moiiUis tuid sent to Vellore tuid C'urnanore jails for 
inctirceration. 

Kamalamma, Muthukuru 

Kamalamnra, Mutlrukuru was tfie daughter of Narasinrlrayya and 
a resident ot Nellore. She was .sentenced on June 30. 1930 to six 
months' RI lor her participation m the Salt Siityagrtilia Movement in 
Nellore and Vellore itiils. She again underwent tour months SI from 
February 16. 1932 in Nellore, Vellore and Cairnanore jails in 

connection with the Civil Di.sobedience Movement. 



146 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Kanakamma, Ponaka 

Kanakamma, Ponaka was a great public chinacter of the older 
hierarchy of Nellore. She was bom in 1 896. Her fatlier wa.s Marapun 
Konda Reddy. She is tlie wife of P Subbarami Reddy Her brother 
Marapun Kodanda Rami Reddy was a versahle personality. He was 
a great literary figure. Being a member of llie Mimipuri family, she 
too inherited certain literary qualities. She contributed a number of 
articles to the magazines "Hindu Sundari" and "Griiialakshmi". She 
wrote the biographies of Sri Ramayogi and Sri. Gurudevudu. She 
was a follower and disciple of Sn Ramana Maharshi. 

Before the advent of Gandhiji we find Kanakamma as a social 
worker. She was inspired and influenced by Gandhiji .so much that 
she led the picketing of foreign cloth at Nellore. Women vtilunteers 
from West Godavari and Madras joined the team at Nellore for burning 
heaps of foreign cloth. There was a spontaneous support and 
participation from the ladies of Nellore for the Salt Satyagraha at 
Pallepadu and Mypadu. Many women including Kanakamma were 
arrested. She underwent six months imprisonment from June 27, 1930 
in the Nellore and Vellore jails. Again in 1932, she ttx>k part m the 
Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced on May 24, 1932 
to 18 months imprisonment but was released on June 30, 1933 before 
her term expired, because of the delirious fever she developed in the 
jail. 

The latter part of her public career was punctuated with a series 
of reverses and personal misfortunes. The Kasiurba SchtH>l which 
she started in 1923 had to be closed due to paucity of funds. Her 
beloved daughter died suddenly and she could not recoup from the 
sustained shock for sometime. She led this period at the Ashram of 
Ramana Maharshi where she met Dronamraju Lakshmibayamma, who 
too came to the Ashram after having lost her child. Condolences 
poured in from different parts of India and persons including Gandhiji. 
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, and Andhra Kesari Prakasam. 

She was actively associated with the library movement. She 
was the president of the Ladies Session of the 1923 Kakinada 
Congress. She was the first lady president of the Nellore Congress 
Committee. She worked for the promotion of women's education and 
social reforms. 

Mahalakshmamma, Oruganti 

Mahalakshinarnma and her family of eight children had con- 
tributed considerably to the National Struggle. She took part in the 
Salt Satyagraha campaign in 1930. She was arrested and awarded 
six months RI on June 27, 1930 and sent to Vellore jail. After release 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


147 


in 1931 she again joined the group of Congress volunteers to picket 
foreign clotli shops during the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1931. 
In 1932 she preached at Nellore boycott of foreign goods and 
distributed prohibited leaflets calhng on the people to boycott foreign 
clotli and the foreign rule. On the occasion of the car festival of 
Ranganayaka Swami where a great concourse of pilgrims crowded, 
she was arrested and made to walk a whole mile from the temple 
to the police station. This the police presumed to be as an additional 
punishment for her daringness in choosing such an occasion for her 
activities and as a detement to others who were gathered there in such 
large numbers from the villages To the police, it might have been 
a punishment, , but the slow march on fpot gave her an opportunity 
to inspire the masses by her national songs sung all the way in 
vociferous tones. 

She was kept on remand for a whole month being shifted from 
jail to jail. Nellore to Atmakur from there to Kavali and back again 
to Nellore and so on. At last the Sub-divisional Magistrate of Nellore 
convicted and sentenced her to 1 year R.I and a fine of Rs. 1,000- 
on May 2, 1932. She was released from the Vellore jail as the 
conviction was set aside. It ivas during her incarceration in jail she 
developed symptoms of paralysis which attacked her repeatedly five 
(5) times. The sudden death of her beloved son, Venkateswar, 
aggravated tlie intensity of her suffering from which she could not 
recover; Finally she breathed her last in December of 1945. 
Maitreyi Oruganti 

Maitreyi Oruganti was a resident of Nellore. Her parents were 
Oruganti Venkata Subbayya and Mahalakshmamma. She took part 
in the picketing of foreign cloth shops, propagated the ideals of the 
Civil Disobedience Movement, and enrolled herself as a volunteer. She 
sang national songs to the masses with great impact and hawked 
khaddar. She was an expert in spinning and won a gold medal in 
the All India Swadesi Exhibition at Nellore. 

Mangalamba, Kurapati 

Mangalamba was a resident of Nellore. Her father was 
Y. Krishna Rao. She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
She was sentenced to six months' S.I. from March 21, 1932 and was 
lodged in Vellore jail. 

Obamma, Palla 

Obamma, a resident of Gogulapalli, was influenced by her 
lather. K. Venkata vSwami Reddy. Following the footsteps of her 
father, she t<x> participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement and 



148 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


went to jail. She was sentenced on October 11, iy.'^2 to .six months 
R I tuid a fine ol" Rs. .200/- or m detault, sent to undergo turther 
17, montlis R.I. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for 
incarceration 
Pitchamma, Gudi 

Pitchamma was a resident of Gogulapalli in Kovur taluk Her 
father was Papi Reddy. She took pjirt in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was sentenced on 11.10.1932 to six montlis' R.I. and 
a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default to undergo furtlier 17, months R.I. 
She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for incarceration. 
Potamma, Pinakati 

Polamma Pinakati was a daughter of Rangayya. She was a 
resident of Gogulapalli. She took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was awarded on 11.10.1932 six months R.I. and also 
a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default to undergo furtlier 17, months’ R.I. 
She was lodged in Vellore and Cannanore jails. 

Pullamma, Dwaram 

Pullamma was tlie daughter of Yella Reddy. She took part 
in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement. She was awtirded on October 
11, 1932 six months' R.I. and also a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default 
to undergo further IV, montlis R.I. She was lodged in Vellore and 
Cannanore jails. 

Ramanamma, Darbha 

Ramanamma was a resident of Nellore. She tiKik part in the 
Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932. 

Ramanamma, Ponnaluru 

Ramanamma Ponnaluru, daughter of Venkataramaiah, was a 
resident of Nellore. She underwent six months' R.I. from June 30, 
1930 and was lodged in Vellore and Nellore jails for her participation 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 

Raghavasankaramma, Katta 

Raghavasankaramma was a resident of Kavali. Her father is 
N. Viraraghavayya and her husband is Srinivasulu. She participated 
in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. She was sentenced to six months’ 
R.I. from June 30, 1930 and was lodged in the Vellore jail. 

Subbamma, Ramalingam 

Subbamma is the daughter of Subba Reddy and a resident of 
Gogulapalli in Kovur taluk. She was sentenced on October 11, 1932 
to SIX months R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default she was to 
undergo furdier IV, montlis R.I. for her participation in tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sent to Vellore imd Csuinanore jails 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


149 


for incarceration. 

Sundaramma, Battaram 

Sundaramma was a resident of Nellore. Her fatlier was 
Pitchayya She underwent six months' S.I from 21 3.1932 in tlie 
Vellore jail for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Tayaramma, Subbavarapu 

Tayaramma was a resident of Nellore. Her father was Ponnalur 
Ramayya She was sentenced to six montlis S.I. from June 27, 1930 
and was lodged in the Nellore and Vellore jails for her partcipation 
in the Salt Satyagraha. 

Tirupatamma, Chavanam 

Tirupatamma was a resident of Gogulapalli, Kovvur taluk. Her 
father was Subba Reddy. She took part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She underwent four months S.I. from February 15, 1932 
and was lodged in Nellore and Vellore jails. After release she again 
took part in the Satyagraha. She was sentenced on October 11, 1932 
to six months' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default to further 
iVj months R.I. and was lodged in Vellore and Cannanore jails. 
Tirupatamma 

Tirupatamma was a resident of Nellore. She participated in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. 

Venkata Subbamma, Rentala 

Venkata Subbamma wife of Venkata Krishnaiah was a resident 
of Pallipadu in Nellore District. She participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced on 8.2.1932 to six 
months' R.I. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for 
incarceration. 

PRAKASAM DISTRICT (part of old Guntur District) 

Ramakoti Punnamma 

Ramakoti Punnamma, daughter of K. Bhanumurthi, was a 
resident of Alluru in Ongolc taluk. She was associated witli tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She underwent six months S.I. from June 
26, 1930 in Vellore jail. 

Tripuramba, Peesapati 

Tripuramba was a resident of Chirala. Her father was Venkata 
Narasimham. vShe took part in the Civil Di.sobedience Movement. She 
was sentenced on September 4, 1930 to six months or in default to 
furtlier one montlis' S.I. and was lodged in tlic Vellore jail. She was 
released on March 7, 1931 consequent to the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 



150 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT (part of old Ganjam Dis- 
trict) 

Adilakshmi, Kappagantula 

Adilakshmi along with her husband Ramestun participated in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement. They were the residents of 
Srikakulam She took part in the picketing of liquor and foreign clotli 
shops during the Civil Disobedience Movement ot 1932. She al.so 
worked for the upliftment of Harijans and propagation of khadi. She 
was influenced by Gandhiji and was encouraged by her husband. 
Lakshtnibayamma, Adurti 

Lakshmibayamma belonged to a ftimily in which every member 
participated in the freedom struggle. She was tiie daughter of 
Varahagiri Jogayya Pantulu. She was the sister of V.V. Giri, former 
President of India. She was the wife of Adurtlii Venkateswara Rao. 
She became a widow at a young age. She studied upto Intermediate 
at Calcutta. She was a resident of Berhampur, Ganjam district. She 
was a social worker. She took part in tlie picketing of foreign cloth, 
toddy shops in response to the call of Gandhiji. She toured tlie entire 
.district to propagate the freedom movement. She was sentenced to 
one year and three months R.I. from January 18, 1932 and was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. She again participated in the 1940-1941 Individual 
Satyagraha. She was convicted twice with one year’s imprisonment. 

She served as Vice-president of Ganjam District Congress, from 
1930-1940, a member of the All India Congress Committee, Town 
Congress President and Member of the Utkala Pradesh Congress. She 
was elected unanimously to the Orissa State Assembly two times and 
served as a Deputy Speaker. As a member of the Assembly .she worked 
for the uplift of the women who work in tlie factories. As a sister 
of the labour leader V.V. Giri, she too worked for tlie women labour 
and for their rights such as maternity leave etc. She was tlie secretary 
of the Kasturba Trust. She was already trained in social work by 
her mother who established the Andhra Mahila Samajam, at Berhampur, 
which worked for the women's welfare. Gandhiji tmd other leaders 
visited this institution and roused inspiration of the inmates. 
Lakshmibayamma implemented the cosntructive programme of Gandliiji, 
such as spinning, weaving and propagation of khadi, picketing of 
foreign cloth, liquor shops, Harijan upliftment and women's develop- 
ment. She toured tlie district extensively to propagate these ideals. 
Ramanamma, Pudipeddi 

Inspired by her husband, China Suryanarayana, Ramiuitunma 
followed him in the freedom struggle. Both participated in die Civil 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


151 


Disobedience Movement They were tlie residents of Berhampur in 
Ganjam district. She is the daughter of Ganti Venkateswailu, She 
was sentenced on January 16, 1932 to one year's R.I and a fine of 
Rs 100/- or turtlier 12 weeks RI in lieu there of. She was sent 
to the Vellore and Cannanore Jails for incarceration. 
Ramasitamma, Mantrala 

Another couple tliat participated in tlie freedom struggle were 
Ramasitamma and her husband LaJcshmi Narasimham. They re- 
sponded to the Cifll of the nation. Her husband was associated with 
all the freedom movements from 1921 onwards. Inspired by him. 
she participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement and underewent 
SIX months S.I. from March 25, 1932 in tlie Vellore Jail. They were 
the residents of Tekkali. 

Sundaramma, Tankala 

Influenced by her husband Sasibhushanam, Sundaramma took 
part in tlie picketing of liquor shops and foreign cloth shops in the 
1930-1932 Civil Disobedience Movement. The couple implemented 
tlie constructive work and as a resident of Narasannapet. She held 
a number of responsible posts. 

Suramma, Ellayi 

Suramma was bom in 1904 to Pudipieddi Knshnamurthi. Her 
husband E. Sannayya participated in all the freedom movements and 
finally died in the jail in 1944. They were die residents of Berhampur 
in Ganjam district. Influenced by her husband she too participated 
in the boycott of foreign clotii. In 1930 she was convicted for six 
montlis R.I. during tlie Stilt Satyagralia Movement. She offered 
Satyagralia with a two year baby in her arms during the Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She wa.s latlii charged and sentenced on 
January 16, 1932 to one years' R.I. vShe was sent to Vellore and 
Cannanore jails for incarceration. She was a true Gandliitin construc- 
tive worker who worked along witli her husband in tlie kliadi 
campaign. She joined Brahmo Samaj and ctirried on the social work. 
She worked for tlie Harijan uplift. She was lor sometime tlie pre.sident 
of the Berhampur Congress Committee. 

Suramma, Jayanthi 

A couple popular for social and political activities was Suramma 
Jayantlii and her husband Venkata Nara 2 /aiia. She was bom in 1887 
at Anantagin in Tekkali taluk. Her fatlier was Kondum Sitaramayya. 
The couple was influenced by Brahmo Saniai through Kandukuri 
Veeresalingam Pantulu and Ragliupati Venkataratnam Naidu. Suramma 
was married to Venkata Narayana at the age of eight. He worked 
as a teacher in Veeresalingam Pantulu's Widow Home. Then he went 


152 


Women ol Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


to Calcutta and had training in Pandiia Shivanadha Sastn's 
Sadhanashram. He propagated Brahmo principles through the orphan- 
age. Bndimo Mtmdir ol Pitliapuram Raia tit Kakintida. At Madras, he 
propagated against prostitution. untoucli;ihilit> tmd illiteracy At 
Madras he started a Brahmo School where Suranmia met Dr. 
Mutliuliikshmi Reddy Suramma became a member ol the Home Rule 
League. It was from this pcrmd that she started her political life. 
She attended the Calcutta Congress along with her children when Dr. 
Annie Besant was the President. She also attended the Bralimo Samaj 
meetings. 

She went to Berhampur for tlie studies of her children, but when 
boycott of Briti.sh Institution came, she switched her children to the 
national schools. These children in tlie national schiKil.s learnt Hindi, 
spinning, and weaving. The whole family fell under tlie influence 
of Gandhiji and immediately started weaving kliadi and propagating 
constructive work. When all the male members were arrested, she 
continued the cosntructive work of picketing the liquor shops in the 
Harijan colony. She faced the violent treatment of the drunkards non- 
violently and ultimately achievd her goal. 

She attended the meetings tliat ttxik place at Vartilitigiri’s hcMse 
and Digumartlii's house. She attended many Congress .sessions wheic 
she met oUier women leaders like Duvvuru Subbamma, and Unnava 
Lakshmibayamma. She worked as a volunteer along with her children 
in the Congress Session at Kakinada in 192.^. She used to inspire 
die people with her patriotic songs in an appealing voice. She 
underwent six months imprisonment from June 19, 1930 m the Vellore 
jail for her participation at Naupada Salt Satyagralia. She met the 
stalwarts like Vedantam Kamala Devi, Duvvuru Subbamma, Achanta 
Rukminamma and others. After relea.se on December 21, 1930, .she 
continued Congre.ss activities. Again she was arrested for taking part 
in the Civil Disobedience Movement on January 18, 1932 and was 
lodged in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. Thus throughout her life she 
was engaged in one activity or tlie other with freedom struggle. She 
died on February 10. 1969. 

Tayaramma, Pokala 

Influenced by her husband Pokala Satyanarayhna, Tayaramma, 
a resident of Parlakimidi in Ganjam district evinced interest in the 
freedom struggle. Her husband had already participated and was jailed 
from 1920 onwards. She too was inspired and look part in tlie Salt 
Satyagraha Movement of 1930. She was convicted for nine months 
R.I She was once again sentenced tti six months' S.l. and a fine 
ol Rs. 250/- or in default of which further six months S.l. as .she 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


153 


conducted the women's Civil Disobedience Movement Tnuning Camp 
at Parlakimidi She was sent to Vellore imd Cimnimore jails for 
incarceration. She was a constructive worker and worked for tlie 
Hanjan upliftment. She was a member of Distirct Congress Board 

Varalakshmi, Korada 

Another women to be influenced by her husband to enter tlie 
freedom struggle along with him was Korada Varalakshmi, w/o. China 
Veeraraju. They were the residents of Aska in Ganjam district. She 
took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1923. She was 
sentenced on 12.1.1932 to six montlis R.I and a fine of Rs. 20/- or 
in default of which further fifteen days; R.I She was lodged in Vellore 
and Cannanore jails. 

Venkataramanamma, Andhavarapu 

Another couple that jointly participated in the freedom struggle 
was Venkataramanamma and her husband Lakshmana Murthi. She 
was bom in 1909 at Narasannapeta. She studied upto 8tli class and 
also learnt San.skrit. Influenced by her husband, she participated in 
the picketing of liquor and foreign cloth shops during tire Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1930-1932 She was a constructive worker 
and worked for Harijan upliftment. 

Venkataramanamma, Marumganti 

Venkataramanamma was a resident of Therlam, in Bobbili taluk. 
Her father was Ranga Charyulu. She was sentenced to six montlis' 
R.I. from April 9. 1932 to October 8, 1932 and was lodged in Vellore 
Jail. 

VISAKHAPATNAM DISTRICT 

Bangaramma, Mantripragada 

Bangaramma was bom at Berhampur in Ganjam district. She 
was a resident of Vijayanagaram. Her father is Surya Prakasarao, 
and her husband is Narasimham Pantulu. She took part in the Salt 
Satyagraha Movement. She underwent 7'/, montlis R.I. from June 
13, 1930 and was lodged in the Vellore Jail. She died in 1948. 
Butchiramayamma, Tekumalla 

Butchiramayamma was a resident of Vijayanagaram. Her 
husband is Sitaramaswami. She is the daughter of Uppaluri Naiasimliam 
She took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced 
on 6.9.1932 to .six months' S.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default 
of which further one months S.I. Only a part of the fine was collected 
and she was sent to the Vellor® and Cannanore Jails for incarceration. 
Hymavatamma, Ampalam 

Another couple tiiat participated in the freedom stmggle from 
this district is Hymavatamma and her husband Simliachtilam. She 
participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. 




154 


Women ol Andhra in tlie Freedom Stniggie 


Janakibayamma, Digumarthi 

A popular family that participated in the ireedom stmggle was 
tlie Digumartln family, in which we find two hroUiers wiili their wives 
and old mother contributing tlieir mite to tlie nunement. They are 
Dugimartlu Janakibayamma and her husband Venkata Ramaswami. 
Butchi Krishnamma and her husband D Hanumantha Rao founder ot 
Pmakini Ashram and their old moUier-in-Iaw Btuigaramma, and her 
brother Venkataramaiah. Eventliough Bangarimima was an orthodox 
lady, she spent her time in die Pinakirxi Ashram and looked after the 
Harijan children. She used to be engaged in .spinning and preparation 
of towels, which were distributed to tlie children of the Ashram She 
encouraged her daughters-in-Iaw in carrying on die constructive and 
political activities. She attended all the meetings with them and 
experienced lathi charge. Having this amiosphere in the husband's 
house, Janakamma had close relationship witli Varahagin fimiily from 
her father's side. Charged with inspinition from diis atmosphere. 
Janakamma. actively took part in the freedom struggle. 

Ramaswami resigned his job in Guntur to participate m the Non- 
cooperation Movement and reached Nellore to assist his brother in 
starting die Pinakini Gandhi Ashram. Janakamma participated in die 
Prabhat Pheris, arranged by Ponaka Ktuiakamma. She also attended 
all her meetings imd participatated in all the activities. Due to 
increased w'orkltKid aedvities of her husband, who was appointed as 
Congress Secretary of Berhampur by the AlCC. the couple lelt Nellore. 
She became the true Gandhian and followed Congress idetilogy. She 
was a volunteer m die Congre.ss JJe.ssion at Kakinada in 192.^. .She 
attended along with Adurti Bhaskaramma, die .second Women's 
Educational Conference at Delhi. In diis meeting tlie.se women argued 
for the "pioperty rights" of women. 

Janakamma attended the Laliorc Congress in 1929 imd returned 
with great enthusiasm to participate in the freedom struggle. She was 
highly inspired by Gandhiji. She participated in the Salt Satyagralia 
Movement from Vizianagram. Many times alting witli her husband 
she walked from Vijayaiiagaram to Visakhapatnam and preparetl Salt. 
The police tried to take out the Salt from the hand ol Ramaswiuni. 
but he clo.sed the hand till one of the fingers got bent completely. 
Janakamma observing all this, took the salt from his hantl and closed 
It. The Brid.sh Officer in.sisted an Indian Officer to press her hand. 
Despite the pain in hand when pressed by a nude per.son, .she controlled 
the pain and .smiled at him like a true GcUidhian. She challcngeil 
die police that she would not open the hand until she w'as arrested. 
But die police arrested her husband only. She dieii led the Sibiram 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


155 


when all Us leaders were arrested She continued preparation of salt 
along with 30 otlicr volunteers and tinally she was arrested and 
sentenced to six montlis R I and a fine of Rs 50/- She was lodged 
in in Vellore jail. 

Alter release, she went to Bandar as her husband was appointed 
as die principal ot Nauonal College in Bandar There she continued 
the Prabhat Pheris and Nagara Sankirtans along witli Dulla 
Venkataramanamma, a popular social worker in Bandar In January 
1932 Janakanima and her aged mother-in-law and otlier women 
protested against the arrest of Gandhiji and they were lathi charged 
severely. She underwent one year imprisonment and a fine of rs. 500/ 
- or indefault of which further six mondis impnsonmenl, in the Vellore 
jail. Though she was pregnant she refused to say regrets or pay tlie 
fine and she went to jail. She delivered a girlchild Jhansi in tlie jail. 
She was nursed by otlier women like Kotamartlii Kanakamma, Bharathi 
Devi Ranga and Rukmini Lakshmipathi and others. In tlie company 
of the.se great women freedom fighters, .she spent years m jail 
and returned home witli a baby but was never willing to apologise 

After release she concentrated on social and constructive 
activities. She was the founder member and secretary of tlie Maliila 
Samaj, and worked in the Indian women society. She organised classes 
for adults, distributed milk to children during National Week Celebra- 
tions, meetings etc. 

In 1944 .she organised a spinning competition and encouraged 
spinning tind weaving. She was die co-chairman of die Social Welfare 
Board of the District Branch of Vi.sakliapatnam, in 1952-1957. She 
started medical centres at Balacheruvu, Kami, Gajuvaka and five other 
villages with adult education centres. 

She was a recipient of Ttunra patra from the Government of 
India during die Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Indian Independence. 
She was honoured by various institutions like Andhra Maliila Sabha. 
Though her btxly was bent, her .spirit was .seen in her sparkled eyes. 
She was active till she died in 1986. 

Kameswaramma, Elamanchili 

Kiuneswartmiraa was a resident Dimili. She took part in die 
Civil Di.sobedience Movement of 1930-1933. 

Lakshminara.samma, MLssuIa 

Another couple that was associated with the freedom 
struggle was Lakshminarasamma and Veera Venkata 
Satyanarayana. He participated in all the freedom 
movements and went to jail. It was this spirit that 
inspired her to dike part in Civil Disobedience Movement. She 



156 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


was sentenced to six montlis imprisonment trom 26.1.19^2 and was 
lodged in Vellore and Cannanore jails Agtun she was sentenced to 
four montlis S.I on 6 9.1932 and a fine of Rs. 1,(K)0/- or m default 
ol which furtlier one montlis' S 1 She was sent to Velkire tmd 
Cannanore jails lor incarceration. She wils a resident of Dunili in 
Elamanchili taluk, and her fatlier was Sistla Ramaniurthi. 
Lingamma, Sistla 

Lingamma was bom in 1881. She was a resident of Dimili 
in Elamanchili taluk. Her father was Missula Dikshitulu. She was 
the wife of Venkanna. She was sentenced to three nninths' impris- 
onment during the 1930, Salt Satyagraha Movement. She again took 
part in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced on 
6.9.1932 to six months’ S.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default of 
which further one month's S.I. and was lodged in tiie Vellore and 
Cannanore jails. She was also associated wiUi Uie Individual 
Satyagraiia and tlie Quit India Movement. She died in 1949. 
Mahalakshmatnma, Dwarakabhamidipati 

Mahalakshmanuna was bom in 1905 at Berhampur in Ganjam 
district. She was the resident of Vizianagaram. She was the wife 
of Ramakishtudu. She took part in the 1932, Civil Di.sobedience 
Movement. 

Mahalakshmanuna, Kalanadhabhatla 

Mahalakshmanuna was a resident of Elamanchili. She is the 
daughter of Missuala Dikshitulu and sister of Lingamma Sistla, who 
also participated in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement. Her husband 
is K. Joga Rao. She took part in the Salt Satyagraha Movement in 
1930, and suffered six months R.I. She again participated in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and was sentenced on 16.3.1933 to ten 
months' S.I. She was sent to Vellore and Cannanore jails for 
internment. She was also associated with the Individual Satyagraha 
and the Quit India Movement. She died at the age of 76 in February 
1967. 

Mahalakshmanuna, Tekumalla 

Mahalakshmamma was bom in 1902 at Vizianagaram. She is 
the wife of Sitaramaswami. She took part in the Civil Di.sobedience 
Movement in 1932. She died in 1944. 

Narasayamma, Gade 

Narasayamma is a resident of Mangavaram in Elamanchili 
taluk. Her father was B. Yerrayya. She is tlie wife of Perraju. For 
her participation in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932 .she was 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


157 


awarded on 6 9 1932 six months' S 1 and a fine of Rs 200/- or in 
default of which further one months' S.l She was sent to Vellore 
and Cannanore Jails for internment 

Ranganayakamma, Gundumalla 

Ranganayakamma is the daughter of Gudur Narasimham. Her 
husband was Venkatachari and tliey were the residents of Visakliapatnam. 
She suffered six months' S.l. from 17.2.1932 in the Vellore jail for 
her association witli the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Sitaramamma, Tekumalla 

Sitaramamma was bom in 1909 at Vizianagaram, she was tlie 
wife of Varahanarasimham. She was sentenced on 15.1.1932 to four 
months imprisonment for her participation in tlie Civil Disobedience 
Movement. She was interned in the Vellore jail. 

Sundaramma A.B.T. or A. BalaTripura Sundaramma 

Sundaramma was bom on 24 12.1913 in Bobbili. She was tlie 
wife of A. Jagannadha Swamy. They were the residents of 
Nimmalavalsa. Encouraged and inspired by her husband she responded 
to the call of Gandhiji when he visited her place. She worked as 
a volunteer and became his follower and implemented his constmetive 
programme. She worked for the promotion of kliadi and spinning, 
khadi hawking and picketing before the foreign clotli shops. She was 
sentenced to imprisonment for her part in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement in 1932. 

Varahalakshmi, T. 

Varahalakshmi is the wife of Narasimha Murtliy and they are 
residents of Vizianagaram. She underwent six montlis' S.l. from 
23.7.1930 and was lodged in Vellore jail for her participation in the 
Salt Satyagraha Movement. 

Venkamamba, Mula 

Venkamamba was bom in 1886 at Kurupam in Parvathipur taluk 
in Srikakulam district. Her father was Ati Appayya Pantulu. She 
was married to Satyanarayana and became a resident of Vizianagaram. 
She was associated with the Non-cooperation Movement of 1921. She 
was sentenced to four months' S.l. for picketing the foreign cloth shops 
at Vizianagaram on 15.1.1932 during the Civil Disobedience Move- 
ment. She was sent to Vellore jail. Again she was sentenced on 
6.9.1932 to six months' S.l. and a fine of Rs. 200/- for attending the 
political conference at Kailasapatnam. The fine was collected by 
auctioning her movable property and she was sent to the Vellore and 
Cannanore jails for internment. She was a constructive worker. She 




158 


Women (^t Andhra in the Freedom Sifu”ele 


worked for the propagation of kfuuh an<! ■ .in- ■; . '■!..* dieij 

in 1938 

Venkataramanamma, Darbha 

Venkatiiramiuiamma was a lesident of Anakapalli Her lather 
was Hanumandia Rao. She underwent four months’ S 1 from February 
16, 1932 and was lodged m tlie Nellore and Vellore jiuls feu her 
participation in tlie Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Venkataramanamma, Marumbattu 

She was a resident -of Bobbili. She totik part in the Civil 
Disobedience Movement of 1930-1933. 

WEST GODAVARI DISTRICT 

Anjalakshmamma, Pasala 

Anotlier couple to participate in die freedtim struggle are 
Anjalakshmamma and Pasala Krishnamurthy. He was asstKiated with 
the Non-cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movement and was a 
great constructive worker. They were residents of West Vipparru in 
Tadepalligudem. Her father was Venkataramayya. Inlluenced by her 
husband she too took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. She 
was sentenced on 20.1.1931, to six months' S.I. She was interned 
to Madras and Vellore jails which she entered along witli lier 3 year 
old child in arms. She was released on 7.5.193 1 as a re.sult of Gandhi- 
Irwin Pact. She again participated in the Civil Di.sobediencc Move- 
ment and was awarded ten months' S.I. on June 27, 1932. She was 
pregnant and with a child in arms went to the Vellore and Cannanore 
jails for internment but refused to aqpologise. She delivered a child 
in the jail. Thus she had the credit of involving her entire family 
to the cause of the nation. 

Annapurna Devi, Alluri 

One more couple to participate from this district was 
Annapumadevi and A. Satyanarayana Raju. He was a veteran freedom 
fighter, and experienced a total period of nine years imprisonment and 
was subjected to severe torture, he had about 75 cuts on his body. 
This issue was questioned in the British Parliament also. The couple 
resided in Jinnuru in Narasapur taluk. Her father was Penumeicha 
Venkatarama Raju. Being influenced by her husband Annapurna Devi 
came out with great enthusiasm and defied the Section 144 in 1937 
at Kalipatnam and. suffered two months' imprisonment. She was a 
great constructive worker and propagated the boycott of foreign cloth 
and liquor and removal of untouchability. She was also a member 
of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council for one term till June 30, 1972. 



CujI L>i,‘;i>hc(ijeni.c Movement 


159 


She died on 14th August 1977 

Talari Chandramathi Devi 

Talari Chandramathi Devi was bom on 6.6.1903 to Tadi 
Chenchayya Naidu and Vcnkamamba. She was married at the age 
of SIX and witliin six montlis, became a widow She was brought 
up by her sister Malialakshmamma and broUier-in-Iaw Talari Venkata 
Gopala Rao. Venkata Gopala Rao was a Gandhian and his major 
activity was Harijan service While the family was involved in Harijan 
activities, he used to arrange dinners for Harijans in his house. He 
arranged many meetings and organised cooperative banks, and night 
schools for Harijans. In all tliese activities he was assisted by his 
wife and her sister Chandramathi who was more than a daughter to 
them. That is how she became Talari Chandramathi. In 1920, when 
she came to know that Gandhiji was fasting for Harijan cause, she 
came out to do Harijan service at the age of 17. She got an old 
temple repaired at Yanalapalli in West Godavari district in which, 
provision was made for the entry of the Harijans She prevented and 
stopped the animal sacrifices in many temples. She graudally became 
a speSkrer in the public meetings. She spoke for the first time at a 
public meeting at Pitapur. She inaugurated Sri Balasaraswathi Seva 
Samajam started by the famous freedom fighter Devulapalli 
Satyavatamma. She under the guidance of Battula Kamakshamma a 
well known social worker, worked for the uplift of women, through 
various organisations like Red Cross and took up flood relief work, 
drought relief work, celebration of national festivals, Harijan service 
etc. She was a life member of Red Cross Society and organised 
constructive work. She received a gold medal for her service. She 
was the president of All India Sarada Devi Sangham, and started a 
branch of it in Hyderabad. She was a good writer, wrote many books 
related to women and their problems. She was honoured in 1965 
with the tide of "Sangha Seva Dhurina" in the presence of Battula 
Kamakshamma. 

Butchamma, Chintaparti 

Butchamma, Chintaparti was a resident of Gundugolanu, in 
Eluru taluk. She was the daughter of Konda Prakasa Rao. She took 
part in the Civil Di.sobedicnce Movement. A fine of Rs. 100/- was 
extracted from her. She was also interned for seven months in the 
V ell ore jail from 1 1 . 1 . 1 93 1 . 

Chudamani, Thumu 

Chudamaui, Thumu was a resident of Polavaram. Her father 
was Gade Dosanna Pantulu. She was sentenced on 27.1.1932 to six 



160 


Women t>l Andhra tn the Freedom Strngirle 


months' R.l. lor her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
She was sent to Vellore luui Cannanore Jails loi mterninent. 

Chukkamma, Mulpuri 

Anotlier couple in the district that .served the cause ol country’s 
independence and .social work, sacnficini! tiiem.selves. lor the 
cosntruclive programme til" Gandhi)i. were Mulpuri C’hukkamma luid 
Dr. Rangaiali. Her parents were Katneni Rangaiah anti Lakshmamma. 
She was bom in I9(K). She was mturied to Dr. Riuigaiah at die age 
of 12. 

Chukkamma participated in Uie Salt Satyagraha Movement, in 
1930 at Matapalem and prepared Salt. Thousands of men and women 
were lathi charged but not arre.sted. She along witli Sringamkavi 
Lakshminarasamma, Sattiraju Syamalamba protested die I'eddapuram 
incident and inspired die people dirough die fasts. She was tirrested 
along with Duggirala Kamalamba on 26.1.1931 during the Indepen- 
dence Day Celebrations. She was .sentenced on 27.1.1931 til'ter die 
Gandhi Irwin Pact. She was honoured by a society which was lomied 
to honour the women prisoners by Padtirdii Sundtiranmia. Sriperumbuduri 
Subhadramma and others. She participated again in the Civil 
Disobedience Mtwement, for which a fine of Rs. 1 5 /- was collected 
from her. Again she was sentenced to six mondis' S.I. from 9.1.1932 
in the Vellore jail. Once again .she was awarded on 21.9.1933 .six 
months S.I. and a fine of Rs. 15/-. The fine was recovered, .she was 
confined in Vellore jail. She was released oti 20.3.19.34. She was 
also associated widi die Individual Satyagraha and once again under- 
went three months' R.l. from 6.1.1941 and was lodged in the Vellore 
Jail. 

Chukkamma participated in die Reseiilenicnt Movement in 
Krishna and Godavari districts. She addre.ssed a number of meetings 
during the Civil Disobedience Movement. She inaugurated a Satyagraha 
Sibiram at Edupugallu. Thus .she had a very long period of political 
life. She served as a Member of Eluru Town Congress Committee, 
District Congress Committee, Andlira State Congress Cx>mmittcc 
District Board and Zilla Parishad, and provincial Kiiadi Board. She 
was the president of District Mahila Mandali. She was a social worker. 
She had donated Rs. 1000/- each to Sarada Niketan in Guntur, Maganti 
Annapurna Devi Girls High School in Eluru, ChagaJlu Anaitda Nikcuin 
and a trust of Rs. 5.000/- was started for women's education, widow 
mtirriages and Harijiui upliftment. She died in February 1967. 
Damayanthi Devi, Dara 

Dctmayandii Devi, Dara was tlie daughter of Pasumarilii 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


161 


Purushotham Her husband was Dara Janakiram They were residents 
of Eluru. She was sentenced to six montlis R.I ;utd a fine of Rs 
200/- or in default of which furdiei IV, montlis' R I. and was lodged 
in the Vellore Jail. The fine was collected She worked as secretary 
of die Reception Committee in Eluru during Gandhiji's visit She also 
learnt Hindi for diis. 

Jhansi Lakshmibai, Maganti 

Jhansi Lakshmibai, Maganti was die daughter of popular 
freedom fighters Maganti Bapmeedu and Annapurna Devi. She was 
bom on 1.3.1927. At the age of four years she went to jail for diree 
months along widi her grand modier during Salt Satyagraha She was 
brought up in the atmosphere where everybody worked and suffered 
for the nation. She too worked for die promotion of the Harijan 
upliftment from that tender age. She used to invite Harijan children 
to her birthday and on odier festival days and give them eatables and 
used to entertain them. She used to teach them about cleanliness and 
to others about untouchability. All this has been written to Gandhiji 
in a letter by her, and got praised by him for her great qualities at 
that young age. 

Kanakamahalakshmi, Kotamarthi 

Kanakamaiialakslimi, ICotamardii was bom in 1873 in an 
ordiodox family. Her father was Valluri Lakslimana Somayajulu. She 
war married at die age of five years to 40 years old Kotamardii 
Suryanarayana who was more orthodox than her father. She studied 
literature and Music and wrote a number of poems tmd songs. She 
became a widow after six children. She left her father’s house and 
lived independently. She became popular through her speeches on 
holy books, reciting slokas, singing patriotic songs. A large number 
of people used to attend her meetings. She was interested in social 
work. She followed the constructive programme of Gandhiji. Spinning 
was her life time aedvity. She used to .spin while talking and walking. 
She wore khadi and sold kliadi. She worked for die Harijan upliftment. 
She used to invite congress leaders and Harijans to the religious 
functions celebrated by her children. She had a helping nature. Once 
when .she was travelling in a train she found a Harijan women about 
to deliver a baby. Kanakamalialakshmamma got down in the next 
station along with Uiat lady and assisted her at the time of delivery. 

Her political activity skirted after attending at Sringavrika.sham 
village in Bhimavamm taluk in West Godavari district on June 16. 
1930, addressed by a filty year old bralimin widow m white kliadi 
sari not on politics but on philosophy and religion, widi her pleasing. 


162 


Women ol Andhra m the Freedotn .Stnieele 


aulhonialivc, and eloquent voice When a polite oflKei tried to 
approach the dias. he was sloppetl hy Laksliniinara\ ana <i lamous 
lawyer, asking him to wait until the speech uas o\er It was 
Kanakamahalalcshmamma, who challenged the polite shotting her bald 
head to the guns The meeting reverherated with the cries ol 
Bharatamauiki Jai, Gandhqi Ki Jai and Kanakaniahalakshmamina Ki 
Jai. She was arrested and thus she entered the congress movemeiiLs. 
She became an ideal to entire women lolk with her courage, patience 
and intererst. Despite her age and orthiKiox appcanincc as a tradiUonal 
Hindu widow, she could inspire a large number ol people. She took 
part in tJie Salt Satyagraha Movement and underwent six months 
imprisonment from 12.6.1930 and was lodged in the Vellore Jail. She 
was latlii charged several times belore her arrest. Again she took 
part in Civil Drsobedience Movement and .served one years' S.I from 
8.1 1932 and was lodged m die Vellore Iiul. She was al.so as.sociated 
wiUi Individual Satyagralia. The Congress leaders recognised and 
admired her great qualities. She was entnisted with the propagation 
of Congress activities. Bhimavanim became the second Bardoli 
because of her efforts. Tlie police always followed her. Once she 
was to bring her daughter for delivery and tlie police were consttintly 
watching her. She cleverly managed to escape, aiul the police could 
not arrest her until Uie delivery of her dtiughter was over. The way 
she escaped from the police at tiiat time thrilled everyboily. She spent 
a period of five years in jail during her political hie. She u.sed to 
take unccKiked food like puhses and fruits and entertain everybody with 
her speeches and prayers. Slic was member of I'jiluk aiul District 
Congress Committees. For a number of years she worked for die 
formation of Andhra State. She fasted along witli Swtuni Sitaram 
in 1952. As a lady witli great self-respect, she never wonted to depend 
on anybody including her children. She stayed alone in lier colttige 
at Bhimavtiram. She died in 1960. 

Kanakamma, Kovali 

Kanakamma find Gopal Rao were active participatants ol' all 
die movements and went to jail several times. Ksinakamnm was boni 
on 16.11.1898 at Vaddiparru in Kodiapet taluk m East Godavfiri 
district. Her father was Viraseshayya alias Virabhadra Fiao, She was 
a resident of Tanuku. She took ptirt m the Civil Di.sobcdicncc 
Movement. She was sentenced on 11.2.1931 to lour mondis' R.I. She 
was released on 7.3 1931 from the Vellore laii sifter the Gandlii-lnwn 
Pact She again participated in die movement. She was awjirded six 
mondis' R.I. on 18 1.1932. She was Incturceraled in the Vellore jail. 
She wa.s released on 8.4.1932 when die conviction was set aside on 
appeal. She worked for Hanjtui upliftment and propfigation ol Khatli. 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


163 


Krishnavenannma, Dasari 

Krishnavenimuna, Dasiiri was the daughter of Rajayya, and a 
resident of Eluru She underwent lour months' imprisonment from 
July 20. 1930 and was lodged in the Vellore Jail tor her participatnai 
m Salt Satyagralia Movement. Again she took part m the Civil 
Disobedience Movement and served six montlis' imprisonment from 
January 6. 1932 in the Velloie Jail. 

Lakshmamina, Damaraju 

Lakshmamma, Damaraju was a resident of Eluru and her 
husband was Lakshmipatlii. Her father was Kurucheti Subbayya. She 
was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment from 21 7 1930 and was 
lodged in tlie Vellore Jail She was die president of Eluru Town 
Congress Conmiittee. 

Lakshmi Devamma, Dasari 

Lakshmi Devamma, Dasari was die daughter of Mallayya and 
a resident of Eluru. She took part in -die Salt Satyagralia Movement. 
She underwent six niondis' S.I. from July 21, 1930 and was lodged 
in die Vellore Jail. She participated in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement also and was sentenced to furdier six mondis' S I trom 
January 6. 1932 and was lodged in die Vellore Jail. She died due 
to T.B. 

Lakshmibayamma, Dronamraju 

Lakshmibayamma, Dronamraju was bom in 1898 at Muiyalapalli 
in Narasapur taluk to Chiuinapragada Sundararamayya She was 
married to Droniunraju Seshagiri Rao and was a resident of Bandar 
when she was influenced by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. She responded 
to the call of Gandhiji. As a constructive worker, she took up 
propagation of khadi luid picketing of foreign cloth shops during die 
Salt Satyagralia and was arrested at Bhimavariuii in 1930, and was 
kept in "C" class in die Vellore Jail. She did Satyagralia in jail also 
to get some facilities in the 'C class jail lor women. Her health was 
affected on account of this. She organised a political training schixil 
at Bhiniavaram where Khanibhanipati Miuiikyamba was one of die 
trainees. Again she was arrested and .sentenced on November 1, 1932 
to six months' R.l. and a fine ol Rs 10/- or in default furdier six weeks 
R.I. She was sent to the Vellore and Cannanore Jails for internment 
She has been attending die congress sessions since 1924. She 
propagated on behalf of congress lor Krishna District Board elections 
in 1939. 

She did pioneering work lor the cause of wiimen tuid Harijaii 
upliftment She worked intensively lor die promotion of basic 
education, kliadi production and Hindi Prachar. She was a member 


164 


Women i>t Andhra in the Freedom vSlruggle 


ot Andhra University Senate She was the secrettiry of Kasturba Trust 
and Bhtiral Sevak Sama) and Vice-President of Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi. 
She assisted Ponaka Ktuiakamma in slartinj: die Kasturi Devi Vidyalayam 
and Industrial School at Nellore. besides Maliiiti Sanghams at several 
places She was a member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council 
from 1958-1966. 

Liikshmibiiyamma suiyed at Ramana Maharshi Ashram in 1940 
after she lost her son. She met Ponaka Kanakamma. who came there 
fore die same reason They bectime eki.se friends, joint writers, wrote 
philosophic poetry, commentary on Gita etc. As an independent 
author, she was awarded Grihalakshmi Ktmkanam (golden bracelet) 
by Dr. Kesari. She led an independent life and .served die cau.se of 
poor students dirough Deccan Insurance Company in Vijayawada. She 
died on August 27, 1970. 

Lakshmi Devi, Mudumba 

Lakshmi Devi daughter-in-law of Mudumba family, participated 
along widi other family members in die freedom struggle. She was 
bom on 4.8.1913 to Marumgtuiu Paratha.saradhi Acharyulu. She was 
also influenced by her parents along with her husband Mudumba 
Doddayacharyulu, her modier-in-law Mudumba Veiikauunma and 
others. They were residents of Kovvur. The whole family resptinded 
to die call of Gandliiji. She was sentenced to eight months 
imprisonment for her picketing before foreign cloth shops in 1930. 
She leamt Hindi and propagated it. She was the author tif many 
Ayurvedic books on operation and surgery, treatment through injection, 
etc. She wrote a number articles on, maintenance of cleanliness in 
the villages, as to how a housewife could be helpful to diis country 
etc., for which she won a number of prizes, and a gtild medal from 
Ravindra Cultural Association of Bhimavaram. She was a member 
of Central Board of Indian Medicine of Madra*s for a long time. 
Lakshminarasamma, Sringarakavi 

Lakshminarasamma, Sringarakavi was bom in 1906 at 
Gundugolanu in Eluru taluk to Bhogaraju Venkatanarasimha Rao. She 
was the wife of Paparao and diey were the residents of Eluru. She 
was influenced by Gandhiji and convinced her husband and took part 
in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. She was sentenced t>n February 
11. 1931 to four months' S.I. and was lodged in Vellore jail. She 
was released on March 7. 1931 due to die Gandhi-Irwin Pact. She 
again defied the prohibitory orders and was arrested on Janutuy 10, 
1932. She was .sentenced on January 11. 1932 to .seven montli.s* S.I. 
and fine of Rs. 100/- or in default of which furUier one months' S.I. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


165 


and was lodged in the Vellore jail till 6.6 1932 The fine was collected 
and she was released on medical grounds She was also associated 
witli the Individual Satyagralia. Quite a number of times she was 
arrested and released She was tlie Municipal Councillor of Eluru 
for sometime. She inspired the women of both Godavari districts 
She worked for the promotion of women's education and women's 
welfare. She was tlie author of four books relating to the activities 
of women 

Mahalakshmanuna, Surampudi 

Mahalakshmamma, Surampudi was a resident of Tanuku. Her 
father was Gudipati Nagabhushanam. She was .sentenced on 20.1.1932 
to six months’ R.I. and a fine of Rs. 15/- or in default furtlier six 
weeks' R.I. She did not pay the fine, so she was interned in Vellore 
Jail. She was a constructive worker and took up propagation and 
popularisation of khadi and spinning. 

Mangamma, Sathiraju 

Another couple that participated in the freedom struggle since 
1921 was Mangamma and Satliiraju Ramamurtlii. Ramamurtlii had 
been associated with all the freedom movements and went to jail. Her 
father was Manchiraju Sivaraju. She was a resident of Tanuku. She 
was sentenced on January 9, 1932 to seven months' S.I. and a fine 
of Rs. 15/- or in default of which further one months’ S.I. and was 
lodged in Vellore Jail. Again she was sentenced in 1933. She also 
suffered imprisonment during the Individual Satyagraha of 1941. She 
was a member of Bharat Sevadal 
Manikyamba, Majeti 

Manikyamba, Majeti was a resident of Eluru, and wife of 
Narayana. She was remanded to the sub-jail for fifteen days in 1932, 
for her participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. 
Manikyamba, Uddaraju 

Manikyamba was influenced by her husband Uddaraju Ramaraju 
and jointly took part in the Civil Disobedience Movement. They were 
residents of Palamarru in Narsapur taluk. She was sentenced on June 
27, 1932 to ten months S.I. and was lodged in Vellore and Cannanore 
Jails. 

Manikyamba, Velamati 

Manikyamba was a resident of Kovvali, in Eluru taluk. Her 
father was Pakalapati Nagayya. She was kept in the Eluru subjail 
for fifteen days in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement 
in 1932. She again took part in picketing and was .sentenced on April 
17, 1933 to six months' S.I. and was lodged in Vellore and Cannanore 
Jails. 



166 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Siruyyle 


Nagaratnamma, CJujju 

Nagarainamma was bom in 1915 at Nidada\oiii in Kowuru 
taluk, to Grandhi Vcnkatariunayya. Slie was inlluenced h\ her hushimd 
Gujju Venkata Rao who was also a treedoni lighter and e- prncnced 
tail hie She was kept in remand lor titleen da\s loi uei association 
willi tlie Civil Disobedience Movement She was again st'iUenced on 
16.3.1933 to ten montlis' S.I and a line ol Hs. 1 0(X)/- loi attending 
Andhra Rashtra Mahila Conference at Guntur Siie uas interned in 
Vellore and Cannanore jails. After her release she worked lor tlie 
Harijan upliftment and propagation of Kliadi as ;ui inmate ol Gautami 
Satyagraha Ashram along witli her husband. 

Nagaratnamma, Kandi 

Nagaramamma was the daughter ol Chundun Lakshminarayana. 
She was a resident of Elum and her husband was Kandi Lakshmikantam. 
She was sentenced on 23.5.1932 to six months' R.I. line of Rs. 200/ 
- or in default of which further IV, months' R.I.. an amount of R.s. 
26/- was collected towards the line. She was sent to Vellore jail lor 
Incarceration. After release she was once again kept in remand for 
fifteen days for picketing and propagation of khadi and Hindi. 
Nagaratnamma, Palakodeti 

Nagaratnamma, Palakodeti was a resident of Tadepalligudem. 
She was sentenced on 27.6.1932 to ten montlis S.I. and was hxlged 
in Vellore and Cannanore Jails for her participation in tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement. 

Narasamma, Datla 

Narasamma was a resident of Tanuku. Her husband was Niladri 
Raju. She was sentenced to tliree months imprisonment and a fine 
of Rs. 500/- for her participation in the Salt Satyagraha Movement. 
She was released after sometime and the fine was collected. 
Narasayamma, Mantena 

Narasayamma was the wife of Suryanarayana Raju. They were 
the residents of Satyavada in Tanuku taluk. She took part in the Salt 
Satyragraha in 1930. But she was not airested. 

Pitchamma, Kalagara 

Pitchamma was bom on 10.8.1880 at Eluru. Maganti Ramineedu 
was her father. Maganti Bapineedu was her brother. Boppana 
Manikyamma and Ramanamma were her sisters. All tliese sisters and 
brothers were popular freedom fighters. Her only daughter Maganti 
Annapurna Devi married her brother Bapineedu. Pitchamma and her 
sisters were very much interested in education. They worked hard for 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


167 


higlier studies of their brother in America Pitchamma educated her 
daughter in Calcutta. Eventhough she was associated with freedom 
struggle since 1921, she was more influenced and inspired by her 
daughter Maganti Annapurna Devi. She took part in tli Salt Satyagraiia 
and was sentenced on 14.7.1930 to six mondis imprisonment, and was 
lodged in the Vellore Jail. She was released on 27 10.1930 an account 
of serious illness. She was accompanied to die jail, by her diree year 
old grand daughter Jhansi She served as President of Eluru Town 
Congress Committee and secretary of Eluru Stree Prarthana Samaj 
from 1910-1927. She was one of the founders of die Samaj. She 
was Its president from 1944. The Samaj started a Hindi school in 
1924-25, and a national school for girls in 1925-1927. It was this 
national school for girls that became Annapurna Devi Nadonal Girls 
School from 1928 after the death of Annapurna Devi. Right from 
1910 she took great interest in the upliftment of Harijans, and 
establishment of Maliila Sanghams. 

Rajaratnamma, Jawaji 

Rajaradinamma, Jawaji was bom on 2.10.1902 at Eluru to 
Maddula Venkata Manikyani. Her husband Apparao Gupta inspired 
her by participating himself in the national struggle. He resigned his 
job in response to die call of Gandhiji, and organised and propagated 
khadi production, manufactured charkhas and distributed them among 
congress workers. Following his footsteps, Rajaramamma became the 
secretary to the picketing secdon of the women’s division, Eluru, during 
the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. She was sentenced on 
23.5.1932 to six months' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default 
of which further IV, months R.I. The fine was collected by auctioning 
her gold bangles. She was once again kept in remand for fifteen days. 
She served as a member of Eluru Town Congress working committee. 
She served as the President of Arya Vysya Mahila Sabha at Nellore, 
She was a member of Stree vSamaj Executive Board. She attended 
All India Congress Sessions at Madras and Bombay. She served as 
tlie secretary of spinning society. She was one of the members of 
Reception Committee organsied in connectionn with the visit of 
Gandhiji to Eluru. She started a store "Buy India" and encouraged 
cottage and Swadesi Industries. 

Ramatulasamma, Motaparti 

Ramatulasamma was a resident of Eluru. She participated in 
Uie Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. She was anrested at Eluru 
and kept in tlie sub-jail for two weeks. 



168 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Ratnamma, Chunduri 

A lady Irom ztimindari ftunily was mOueneed by Kandukun 
Veerestilingant Ptmtulu, as well as her latlier Rao Bahadur Peda 
Vcnkatii CluUapatlii Rao of Kakmda tuid her husband Chundun 
Snramulu. She reacted very much, when her lather was lathi chinged 
in the Peddapuram Gardens on 21 12.1930. 

She was bom on 7.2.1892 at Kakinada. She studied Sanskirt, 
Telugu, Hindi, Music and Art. She found in her vaisya community 
illiteracy, specially among women, and so encouraged tliem to study 
and come out to participate in the national struggle. She was inspired 
by Gandhiji and implemented tlie constructive work. She worked for 
the promotion of kliadi, prohibition, Harijan and women’s upliftment. 
She was sentenced on 23.5.1932 to six montlis R.I. and a fine of Rs. 
200/- or in default of which further IV, montlis R.I. Tlie fine was 
collected. She was placed in die Vellore jail for internment. 

She again offered Individual Satyagralia and was awarded six 
mondis R.I. and a fine of Rs. 500/- which wtis collected. vShe served 
as tlie president of South Indian Vaisya Mahila Maliasabha. She ttxik 
interest in the propagation of Hindi. She was elected as the Chairman 
of Eluru Municipal Council in 1940. She was die first womtui to 
hold this post in Andhra. She was honoured by die Municipal Council 
in 1940. She was also honoured by die Municiptil vSocieties of Andlira 
and Tamilnadu. She discouraged caste feeling, and for this very reason 
she changed die word Vaisya Seva Sadan as Andhra Yuvadii Sanskrit 
College. She toured all over India and inspired people to set aside 
caste and odier blind beliefs and join die national struggle. She started 
Sarada library She donated liberally to a number of institutions, and 
encouraged die women by holding competitions. She encouraged 
yoga swimming and fighting for physical strengdi of die women and 
encouraged women participants by giving gold medals, silver cups and 
shields. The Aryavaisya Maliasabha at Nellore honoured her widi title 
"Sangha Seva Parayani" in 1941. She died on 4.8.1965. 

Rukmini Lakshmipathi, Achanta 

Rukmini Lakslimipathi was a great social worker, who worked 
for die awakening of women. Her social work began even before 
the advent of Gandhiji on die political arena. Inspired by Gandhiji, 
we find Rukminamma as a Satyagralii and holding more resptinsiMe 
posts. She was die first women graduate and took her degree in 1920 
She was a musician too. She was bom in 1891. Her fadier was 
Uggela Srinivasa Rao. She was married to Acliantti Ltikshmipathi tmd 
became Uie resident of West Godavtiri district. Her activities spread 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


169 


all over Andhra and Madras She worked for the propagation of kliadi 
and boycott of foreign clotli She started a Swadesi stores at Madras, 
in 1921. after she met Giuidhiji In 1926. she attended, as a delegate 
die Inteniational Women's suttrage Ahance Congress at Paris in 
France, representing India While she was touring all over Europe 
she felt die need for national symbols like a flag, song, and dress 
She impressed die Europeans widi her speeches and music on veena. 
She became the president of A.sian All Women Conference in 1929. 

From 1929 .she worked in the national movement along with 
Unnava Lakshmibayamma She led the Salt Satyagralia Movement 
and prepared salt at Veditfanyam near Tanjore. At that time she could 
not even go home when her son drank kerosene and was in a serious 
condition. By God's grace he became alright. She was sentenced 
on 14.5.1930 to one years S I. in Velleore jail. She was an English 
teacher to women Satyagralvis in die jail She was released on March 
7. 1931 after die Gandhi-Irwin Pact. She again participated in die 
Civil Disobedience Movement. A fine of Rs. 100/- was collected, 
and she also underwent six months' R I. from March 14, 1932 in 
Vellore jail. She also offered Individual Satyagralia and was awarded 
imprisonment of one year in the Vellore jail from November 21, 1942. 
She served as member ol Madras University Senate, president of 
Madras Congress Committee. Member of Composite Madras Legis- 
lative Council in 1935. She .served as Deputy Speaker of Madras 
Legislative Council in 1937. She served as Health Minister in die 
Prakastim Cabinet in 1946, As a minister she griuited a Medical 
College for Guntur. She financed and converted tm Ayurvedic School 
which was closed due to paucity of funds, into a college at Kilpak 
in Madras. Thus throughout her life with tlic encouragement and 
inspiration given by her husband, she reached the level of national 
leaders. Her children were also inOuenced by her and her husband. 
Sakuntala Devi, Vadcliparthi 

Sakuntaladevi was a resident of Eluru. She was sentenced on 
’ 20.1.1931 to six monUis' S.I. in Vellore jail for her participation in 
the Salt Satyagralia Movement. She was relca.sed on March 7, 1931 
after the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 

Sara.swathidevi, Kotikalapudi 

AnoUier couple that contributed their mite to the country was 
Stiraswathi Devi and Kotiksilapudi Anjaneyulu. They were re.sidents 
of Poolla, ti village m Eluru taluk. Her fatlicr was Pixilla Venkata 
Subbarao. Being inlluenced by her husband who was as.sociated with 
national movement from 1930 to 1942. she t(K) look part m the Civil 



170 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Disobedienee Movement She w;is 'Jentencetl on January IX. 10.^2 
lo seven monilis' R I tuid a line ol R.s 2(K)/- or in ilelault ol winch 
lurtlier 1'/, montJi.s R.I in Vellore tuid C'annanure jails She tigain 
offered Individual Saiyagralia and .served iliree months R I. Iioni 
February 3, 1041 in the Vellore and Cannanore jails .She took interest 
in tlie upliftmenl of Harijans and other eonstiuelue progiammes ol 
Gandhiji. She served as Member ol Eluru Taluk Congress Committee 
and West Gi^lavari Di.stnct Congress Committee. 

Satyavatamma, DevuIapalH 

Satyavatamma was born on August 24. 18X4 at Attili in Ttuiuku 
taluk, lo Vagara Vasudevudu. She was married to Devulapalh 
Ramamurtlii but became a child widow. She studied privately tmd 
was good at reading tmd writing Hindi and English. She was a writer 
in Telugu. She contributed a number ol articles and essays to 
Grihalakshmi. She was inlluenced and inspired by Gandluji She 
implemented the constructive activities such as promotion ol khadi 
and Hindi along willi Sringarakavi Lakshmintirasiuimiti and Tallapragada 
Viswa-sundaramma. vShe did kJiadi w'ork in Meerabat Charkha School 
and conducted Hindi clas.ses in Tanuku. She carried on picketing ol 
foreign cloUi and liquor. Earlier to Gandhiji she happened to hear 
the .speech of Bipin Chandrapal at Rajalimundry at the age ol 1 1 or 
12 and her young mind had decided to work lor the country. She 
was further encouraged by Gandhiji's call imd took active pait in all 
meetings. When Gandhiji visited in 1920 she actively h Hiked alter 
the arrangements. She was associated v,'ith Non-coopcratioa Move- 
ment also. She had training at Bombay along witli Durgabiiyiunma 
and others for the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced 
on January 25. 1932 to six months' R.I. and a line of R.s. 2(K)/- or 
indefault of which further six weeks R.I. in the Vellore piil. She was 
released on April 8. 1932 when her conviction was set aside by the 
High Court. She also worked for the promotion ol tlie women's 
upliftment. She started Balasaraswatlii Samajam at Tanuku. Under 
which there was coaching in Sanskrit. Typewriting etc. There was 
also an adult education wing for poor and destitutes and also for 
widows. She worked as the correspondent ol tins Simuij. under die 
guidance ol Durgabayamma. She u.sed to arrange speeciics ol great 
people belonging to Ramakn.shna Mission. Theo.stiphical Society and 
arranged concerts by musicians She also honoured a number of 
political leaders. She died in 1987 

Sitamma, Varana.si 

Sitamma was a resident of Bhimavaram taluk. Her lather was 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


171 


Kappaganiula Gunnayya She undement tliree months' S.I from July 
9 , 1930 in the Vellore jail for her participation in tlie Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement. 

Sitaramamma., Addunuri 

Sitaramamma, Addunuri wa.s tlie wife of Gopala Rao and they 
were tlie residents of Tadepalligudem. She participated in tlie Civil 
Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced to ten montlis S I. on 
June 27, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore jails. 

Sodemma, Cheibiyyam 

Sodemma was bom in 1895, at Bhimavaram. to Chivukula 
Suryanarayana She was married to Somayya and they became 
residents of Polavanun. Her husband Somayya was associated witli 
freedom struggle since 1920 and established Polavaram Swaraj 
Ashram. Having been inspired by Gandhiji and influenced by her 
husband she too participated in the 1920-1921 Non -cooperation 
Movement. She was courted imprisonment during the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement in 1930. Again she participated in the Civil Disobedience 
Movement m 1932. She was .sentenced to six montlis R.I. on January 
27, 1932 in Vellore and Cannanore jails. She look keen interest in 
tlie promotion and propagation of kliadi and Harijan upliftmcni She 
was associated widi the Polavaram Swaraj Ashram along wiUi her 
husband. 

Subbalakshmi Devi, Tallaprag;ada 

Anotlier couple that participated in tlie freedom struggle, was 
Subbalak.shnii imd Nagaraju who were active participtuits in Salt 
Satyagnilia, Civil Disobedience Movement and Individutil Satyagralia. 
They were residents of Tanuku. Her fatlier was Bhaskara Rao. Having 
been inspired by her husband .she look part in die Salt Satyagralia 
Movement m 1930 tuid in Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. 
While .she was pregnant she was arrested on Janutu'y 26. 1932, and 
was sentenced on January 29. 1932 to six montlis R.I. tuid a fine of 
Rs. 500/- or in default of which turtlier six weeks R.I. in the Vellore 
jail. When she refu.sed to pay the fine, her properly was auctioned 
and the fine was extracted. She delivered a child in tli jail 

Sugunamani, Pa.sumarthi 

Sugunamani was a resident of Eluru. She was arrested and 
detained in tli sub-jail for two weeks for her ptirticipation m the Civil 
Di.sobedience Movement. 

Suramnia 

Suramnia was a resident ol Tanuku and sister of Datla Neeladri 


172 


Wcimen ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Raju. a prominent Ireedoni lighter She look part in the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement in 1930. vShe was sentenced to pay a tine ot Rs. 500/ 
- or in detault ot which to undergi' three months' imprisonment She 
was released frtim jail alter .sometime as the line was collected. 
Suramma, Badarwada 

Suramma was a resident of Bhimadolu in Eluru taluk Her 
father was Konda Ntirasanna Raju who inspired and influenced his 
daughter As a freedom fighter, he took part in the Civil Distibedience 
Movement tuid was interned in tlie jails So she tix> followed her 
fatlier's footsteps. She defied tlie prohibitary orders, passed in 
connection witii the Civil Disobedience Movement. She was sentenced 
on January 18. 1932. to seven montlis R.I. tmd a fine of Rs. 
200/- or in default of which she should undergti furtlier 17, months 
R.I. and was kxlged in Vellore and Cannanore Jails. 
Swarajyalakshmi, Mothey 

Swarajayalakshmi, w-as a resident of Eluru. She was kept in 
the Eluru sub-jail for fifteen days for her participation in die Civil 
Disobedience Movement in 1932. 

Syamalamba, Sattiraju 

Syamalamba was tlie daughter of Butchiramayya and die wife 
of S. Venkatratntun, They were a residents of Eluru. She worked 
for die removal ol unloucliability. She was as.sciciated with various 
social, educational and political activities. She was .sentenced on 
January 9. 1932 to .seven montlis S.I. and a fine oi Rs. 15/- or in 
default of winch to undergo furtlier one nionth.s’ S.I. and was kidged 
in Vellore and Cannanore jails for disobeying prohibitary ortlers and 
picketing foreign clodi and liquor shops, die fine was collected. She 
died in 1954. 

Venkatamma, Mudumba 

Venkatamma was a nationalist poetess who enthused and 
inspired die people by her patriotic songs. She belonged to the fiimily 
of Mudumba, which contributed every person in die fiimily to die 
service of the nation. She was die daughter ol Murumganti 
Narasimhacharyulu Her husband was Mudumba Narasimhacharyulu. 
They were residents of Eluru. He along wiUi his wile and four sons 
Doddayyacharyulu. China Niirasiniha Charyiihi, Vcnkaita Charyulu. 
Bliarata Pataka Charyulu who was three years old. at that lime, and 
die first daughter-in-law Lakshmi Devi participated in the struggle and 
interned to imprisonment. Venkattunma took part in die Salt 
Satyagralia Movement tuid .served six months S.I. from July 21. 1930 
in the Vellore jail along with her direc yetn old son Bliarata Pataka 


CivU Di,S()bedience Movement 


173 


Charyulu She again ptirticipated in the Civil Disobedience Movement 
and underwent montlis R.I. trom April 30 1932 and was lodged 
in Vellore Jail. 

Veera Venkatamma, Kummuri 

Veera Venkatamma was tire daugliter of Subbarayadu and wife 
of Venkata Subba Rao. They were residents of Eluru. She was 
convicted for six montlis imprisonment m tlie Vellore jail from July 
14, 1930 for her participation in the Salt Satyagralia Movement. She 
again took part m the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sentenced 
on January 11, 1932 to eight months’ S.I. She was confined in tlie 
Vellore jail. 

Viswasundaramma, Tallapragada 

Anotlier great nationalist poetess who inspired die people witli 
a large number of patriotic songs was Viswasundaramma. She was 
the auUior of a number of works. She along with her husband 
T. Narasimha Sarma was as.sociated with political movements since 
1921 and the establishment of 'Ananda Niketan' Ashram at Chagallu 
in 1923 to die promote National education, Harijan upliftment and 
otiier constructive programmes of Gandhiji. There was hardly any 
movement or meeting without her participation. She led the women 
of West Godavari district in these movements. The Ashram children 
also worked like child .soldiers. She was as.sociaied with the Non- 
cooperation Movement. She then took part in the Salt Satyagraha 
Movement and underwent four mondis’ S I. from July 8, 1930 in 
Vellore jail. She again participated in die Civil Disobedience 
Movement and served a further term of six montlis' S.I. from July 
11, 1932 in Vellore jail. Her statement in the court when questioned 
reminds the dialogues of Mark Antony in Julius Ceaser. She went 
to jail repeating Vandemataram loudly. 

She was bom on March 6, 1899 at Undi, in Bhimavaram taluk. 
.She was mairied to Tallapragada Narasimha Sarma at the age of nine. 
She joined her husband at the age of sixteen at Pithapuram where 
he was tlte superintendent of the Pithapuram Raja’s orphanage. They 
stayed tlicre for five years, and got the idea of initiating some reforms 
which resulted in the establishment of Ashram. The couple responded 
to the call of Gandhiji by attending the Vijayawada Congress Meeting 
in 1921. She proposed tlie re.solution on Non-cooperation and got 
her name written first in the list. She then took up to picketing, and 
bonfires, addressing tlie large meetings and attending congress meet- 
ings. When .she attended the Ahmadabad Congre,ss in 1921, .she met 
Gandhiji in the Sabaxmati Ashram and discussed with him various 



174 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


subjects including tlie establishment of tui Ashram She stayed tor 
sometime m I^jahmundry and ttssisted in running the widow home 
of Kandukun. Then she visited Bengal province. She visited Bralinia 
Sadhana Ashram at Calcutta. Pravardiak Ashram at C'haiuJra Nagore 
and Santi Neketan. She suiyed for sometime at the Pinakim Ashram 
at Pallepadu. 

After having acquired enough knowledge tuid experience, they 
started the Ananda Niketan Ashram at Rujahmundry on the bank.s of 
River Godavan. (for details of Ashram vide Chagallu Asiiram in 
Chapter 8). 

During Quit India Movement tlie government confiscated tlie 
Ashram. The couple stayed in a cottage. In die midst tif dicse atlversc 
conditions, she could write beautiful poetry on a vanety of subjects. 
All her works were compiled m tlie form of "Ktivitiia Kadambam". 
She used all her energy and time for social work, writing poetry and 
service to nation. The constructive work became tlie subject of her 
poetry. Social reforms and Uie social reformers like Kandukun and 
Gandhiji had place in her poetry. Altmg with kliadi and Swadcsi. 
she wrote about anti-drink campaign. Those were die days of Swariesi 
products, Sundaramma who propagated Swadcsi products both by 
action and her literary work subdy mentioned in one of her poetical 
works how liquor prepared in the country thtiugh Swadcsi still stands 
prohibited. She wrote a number of poems on the national movement, 
and its various activides and incidents that took place between 1920- 
1949. 

She was a great social worker. She worked for women's 
upliftment and widow marriages. She deplored the child marriages 
through her poetry. She inspired the people who were arrested, and 
taken to jails, with her .songs on Gandhiji. Thus she acquired a very 
high place as a modem woman poetess, as a social worker, tmd a 
freedom fighter. She died on August 30, 1949. 

Darsi Annapurnamma 

Darsi Annapurnamma was bom in 1907 to Rotmgal Nilappa 
and Gauramma. As her father died at a young age, her reladves joined 
her mother in My trey i theosophical .society. Annapurnamma later 
joined Adyar theosophical society and became a radical reformist. She 
allowed her sister to marry only after completing M.A., B.Ed., She 
started taking the re.sponsibility of celebrating widow marriages, anti 
assisted Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu. She was very much 
impressed witli Darsi Chenchaiah witli his high academic qualifications 
and high sense of service to the nation. They got married and the 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


175 


couple started celebrating widow marriages and rescue work in midst 
ol strong opposition Once diey were celebrating a widow marriage 
of a twelve year old girl When the marriage procession was going 
on. a section ol people started mischief by throwing stones. But 
Annapuniamma could perform her duty, successfully. After sometime 
tlie man who was responsible for tins vandalism came to her requesting 
to do something to her widowed daughter, Annapumamma was 
generous to celebrate tliis marriage aI.so. 

Annapuniamma was a Gandhian. She worked for implementing 
the constructive programme such tis inter-dinning, inter-caste marriage, 
and Hanjan service. She protested against tlie caste system, pros- 
titution and Devadasi system. The couple worked for die reform of 
Devadasis, alohg with Yamini PumatilaRam. Annapumamma along 
with Turlapati Rajeswaramma started an orphanage at Vijayawada after 
having seen a small baby who was killed and left over on die roadside. 
She attended All India Women's Conference in 1929 at Bombay along 
with Battula Kamakshamma. They supported the Sarada Act. She 
w'rote a number of articles luid stories on die need to reform women. 
She wahted to start a Montessory school and started collecting funds 
for it, but she died of heart-attack on November 28, 1931 at a young 
age leaving her five years old daughter behind. 

Darsi Subhadramma 

Darsi Subhadramma was the second wife of Darsi Chcnchayya. 
She was a noble, educated and ideal woman. She excelled in fine 
arts, specially music. She was firm in taking decisions. Sometimes 
she even led her husband on certain occasions She did not believe 
in violence. She tried her level best in changing his views and path. 
Tlius Chenchayya who was earlier a member of Gaddar Party, became 
a social worker and worked for widow marriages and against Devadasi 
system. Subhadnunma was a stKial worker. Even as an young girl 
of eight .she protested Kesa Khandana, removal of hair of her aunt 
who lost her husband. She did not have caste and religious feelings. 
At the age of eighteen, .she worked along with Dr. Annie Besant and 
Jina Raja Das for tlie establishment of Women's Indian Association. 
She started die first bninch of it at Hyderabad for the awakening of 
women. When she was twenty five years she was one of the organising 
members ol All India Women's Conference and worked for the rights 
of women such as right to vote, right to become honorary-Magistrate, 
M.L.A.. or get any other position. She popularised divorce, birth 
control tuid worketi against polygamy. She supported die Sarada Act 
and die right to property. She worked along widi Dr. Mudiulakshmi 



176 


Women ol Andhra in the Freedom Slruggle 


Reddy. Lady Cou.sms and Lady Bjirry lor starting a rescue home lor 
women in 1932-1934 vShe wtirked as a member in All India Mahila 
Malia.sabha at Madras in 1934-1935 and worked lor Hindu Code Bill 
She wrote a number ol articles on women and tlieir pniblems, and 
on some ol the women relormcrs such as Kandukuri Rajyalakshmamma 
in 'Andhra Maliila' a magazine run by the Andhra Mahila Sabha. She 
was a staunch Gandlium. She refused to take charge ol Montessori 
schtxil because it was an institution belonging to British government 
which imprisoned Gandhiji. Gandhian Civil Disobedience Movement 
attracted her very much. She was trained under B. Jagimnadha Das 
for propagating tlie Satyagralia and was prepared to go hi pul. but 
at that time .she was asked to go and serve tlie Harijan vSeva 5>angh. 
She was disappointed and reluctant to go, but .soon got mvtilved 
completely in tiie work of Harijan Seva Dal. In 1933 V. Bhashyiun 
Ayyengar and Subhadramma started a harijan girls htistel. Though 
Darsi Subhadramma did not go to jail, she stood for tlie cause ol 
women and as a true follower of Gandhiji, was committed to his 
constructive work. 

Dr. Nivarthi Lakshmidevi Sastri 

Bom in 1896, Lakshmidevi was the daughter of Se.shamma tuid 
Narasayya. She was very much interested in studies but her parents 
got her married early and soon she beciune a widow. Even then she 
did not give up her hopes about studies. It was her uncle (mother's 
brotlier) who supported her in her studies. By 1925, she became tlie 
first doctor in the Anantapur District. While studying medicine m 
Bombay, she had observed several social, and ptilitical leaders and 
developed independent views. She got married in 1929 witli Nivartlii 
Mrutyunjaya Sastri. a junior lawyer under her uncle. She started her 
medical practice for common people. She was interested in main- 
taining not only a healtliy body but also a healtliy society. 

By 1930 she was driven towards tlie Salt Satyagraha Movement. 
She met Durgabayamma under whose influence, she started addressing 
tlie people in large gatlierings and picketing foreign goods. The ptilice 
arrested her and brought her before tlie sub-magistrate ctiurt. After 
heated arguments, she was sentenced to six months RI tuid a fine of 
Rs 200/- or in default of which furtlier two months imprisonment. 
She was lodged in Vellore Jml in 1932. She could not bear the sight 
of the conditions of criminals m the jail, and she skirted agitation on 
behall ol the women criminals in the jail. She was shifted to Madurai 
lail immediately as she was becoming problematic. She completed 
her incarceration of eight months without paying the tine. 


Civil Disobedience Movement 


177 


Lakshmi Devi, worked for Harijan upliltment. She encouraged 
and followed inter-dining and collected Htirijan Fund when Giuidhiji 
visited Bellary in 1934. 

Lakshmi Devi served as Vice-president ot the DCC and worked 
for involving more women in die Congress and its movements. In 
1935, she was elected as a member of composite Madras Suite 
Assembly, lor 27, years, and worked hard for her constitutency She 
started a Harijan hostel. She was elected as member of Municipal 
Council, Bellary. She was a representative from Bellary to the All 
India Women's Conference. The Sastri couple suggested change of 
tlie name of 'ceded district's as Rayalaseema; tliey al.so suggested 
Tungabhadra Project lor improving irrigation facilities in that region 
She worked for the cause of unity tuid integrity. She died in February 
1976 

Kadapa Rama Subbamma 

She was bom in 1902 in CuddaptUi district to Ramachandra 
Reddy and Atchamamba. Her faUicr was a great Sanskrit scholar. She 
was married to Kadapa Koti Reddy in 1917. He was a bturister-at- 
law m London and Oxford Universities, but turned a nationalist tuid 
inspired Rtima Subbamma. As a result of this atmosphere she joined 
the Congress in 1921 and started her political activities. She was 
highly inspired by T. Prsikastun's act dunng tlie boycott of Simon 
Commission, at Madras. She participated in the Salt Satyagrtilia of 
1930 along witli Durgabayamma, Duvvuru Subbamma, Unnava 
Lakshmibayammti, Drontimraju Lakshmibayamma. Ponaka Ktuiakamma 
and oUier great leaders. 

During the Individual Satyagnihti in 1941 .she participated along 
witli her husband but was not jirrested. When her husband was 
tirrested, .she organised the movement elTicienlly during his absence 
She was associated witli Andhra Movement from 1918, and .served 
as its Vice-president. She served as the Municipal Counccllor for 
40 years, and did great service. She worked for women upliftment. 
She was the president of District Congress Committee from 1938-43. 
She left it dunng the Quit India Movement. 

She was the President of All India Women's Conference State 
wing. She toured extensively throughout tlie Suite. She was a great 
social worker and worked for the establishment of a women's college 
in Cuddapali. She donated Rs. I lakh for this purpose. She served 
as a member of All India Socitd Welfare Board, State Social Welltu'e 
Board and President of Guild of Services. She worked in die relief 
programme of Rayalaseema famine. She was a member of All India 



178 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Congress executive committee She visited foreign countries While 
addressing a meeting of Andhra Yuvathi'Mandali, Hyderabad in 1940 
she inspired the women of Hyderabad to come out of the seclusion 
Though she w-as not arrested, she took an active part in the freedom 
struggle and social field. 

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy 

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was one of the great women leaders 
of this period. Though her work was confined to Madras, women 
of Andhra derived benefit of her services as a member of the 
Legislative Assembly. She was responsible for tlie enactment of laws 
concerning education and health of women, the abolition of Devadasi 
system and the suppression of prostitution. All her reforms had their 
impact on women in Andhra as there was already awakening in these 
matters dawned by the social reformers. Persons like Yamini 
Pumatilakam, her daughter Rama Tilakam and tlie famous cinema star 
of the day Bezawada Rama Tilakam had carried a movement for 
abolition of the Devadasi system. Dr. Mutliulakshmi Reddy shu-ted 
a number of institutions for women. She did not participate in the 
Salt Satyagraha or in picketing or boycotting like other women of 
Andhra. But as a staunch follower of Gandhiji, as an educated lady, 
she tried to awaken the women tlirough meetings, discussions and 
organisations. As a follower of Gandhiji, she resigned her membership 
in the Legislature in 1930. She represented Women's Indian Asso- 
ciation and attended the Round Table Conference at England. When 
Gandhiji visited Madras in 1933. she was the President of Women's 
Indian Association and organised a large women's meeting witli 
Gandhiji. These women took a pledge that tliey would carry on the 
campaign against untouchability. She had already established Avvai 
Home, in which she sheltered women of all castes. She took up the 
task of constructing a Cancer Hospital through the Women's Indian 
Association, and collected huge donations. Tliough her eyesight was 
deteriorating due to age she convinced Gandhiji and carried on the 
work. 

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first lady doctor in the 
composite Madras province. She was highly influenced by tlie Bralimo 
Samaj and its founder and leaders. She pledged to follow the footsteps 
of Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Kandukuri Veercsalingam Pantulu, and 
Raghupathi Venkata Ratnam Naidu in working for the upliftment of 
women. She was also influenced by Gandhiji and followed his 
constructive programme. Her life inspired her sons. Her second son 
took part in Quit India Movement and was arrested. She wtis boni 
in 1886 to Narayan Swami and Chandrammal at Pudukkotai in 
Tamilnadu. She died in July. 1968. 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


179 


NATURE OF PARTICIPATION 

The nature ol participation of women in tlie movement has to 
be considered from two dimensions. Nearly 306 women have entered 
the pages of history for tlieir involvement in tlie freedom struggle, 
as they participated directly. Their names were taken from Jail list 
or pension list. But tlierc were many oilier women whose participation 
was indirect for various reiLsons. These names have not been entered 
any where in tlie pages of history and sometimes even if entered it 
was limited to a mere mention inspite of their significant role almost 
from inception either directly or indirectly. Owing to social norms, 
restrictions and unfavourable family circumstances, these women could 
not come out for taking visible and measurable ptirt Their partici- 
pation was implied and indirect. They were in.spired and took part 
m processions, meetings, demonstrations, vSatyagraha campaigns, defied 
laws, and took constructive programme. The constructive programme 
was. implemented by all groups of women. Contribution in any form 
becomes part and parcel of the freedom struggle which deserves 
mention. 

During the Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930-33 — there 
were thousands of women who were not arrested <md put in piils as 
their number became unwieldy and also for want of accommodation. 
Most of them were lathi chsu'ged. jirrested and released immediately 
and many of llicm were taken in a vehicle and left in a far off place. 
Police did not arrest women due to lack of minimum facilities for 
women in jails. So these women's purl remained behind the screen. 

Active ptirticipation of women prior to 192()'s was rather 
limited. It was only after Gandhiji's entry into politics women emerged 
as freedom fighters. So no other suige in freedom struggle witnessed 
participation of women so effectively and also in such large numbers 
as that of the Civil Disobedience Movement. About 292 women 
participated actively, openly and directly at this stage. Age was no 
bar as young and old ptuticipated with the same zeal. Kalagara 
Pitchamma of West Gcxlavtiri district who was tlie mother of Maganti 
Annapurna Devi went to jail widi her 4 years old grand-daughter, 
Jhansi. Lack of education or social taboos did not prevent tliem from 
participation. Anotlier notable feature of die Civil Disobedience 
Movement was the representation ol women from almost all the coastal 
districts of Andhra, (vide Table-I) in large numbers i.e.. (9191) while 
It is m Telangana and 49f m Rayala.seenia. 

This regional varuuions in women'.s participation was due to 
general prosperity of die region, socnil system, innuence ol die national 



180 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


leaders and presence of women leaders in the region. Influence on 
the coastal districts started with tlte visit of Bipin Pal in 1907 during 
the Vandemataram Movement in which seeds of the Freedom Struggle 
were sown. Visit of Gandhiji on various occasions influenced the 
women immensly. So they extended their full support and involved 
not only in political agitations but in constructive programmes as well 
wholeheartedly. Women extended cooperation to the brim of their 
capacity both by direct participation and whenever it was not possible 
by involving in the constructive work and finally helping the 
Satyagrahis by providing shelter, food and service. Almost all women 
organised and participated in Prabhat Pheris, Nagara Sankirtanas or 
singing National songs to inspire and propogate the ideals of the 
Freedom Movement. 

Though this kind of participation could be noticed at every stage 
of Freedom Struggle, it was more in Civil Disobedience Movement. 
An analysis of participation of women district- wise is given below. 

Guntur district including Prakasam has the distinction of 
contributing highest number of about 98 women in the Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement. Many other women participated in Prabhat pheris, 
in distributing pamphlets, bonfires and processions. 

Krishna district ranks second by contributing about 90 women 
to the movement. For the purpose of propaganda Krishna district was 
divided into two parts, under two separate committees. The East 
Krishna district with Masulipatam and the West Krishna district with 
Vijayawada as headquarters. 

West Godavari district occupies the third place with 45 women 
participants in Civil Disobedience Movement. The share of Nellore 
district has been about 20 women while East Godavari district had 
20 women participants, pages of Visakhapatnam district mention 14 
women participants while Srikakulam district shows names of 10 
women. 

There were only 4 women participants from Rayalaseema and 
lone Sangam Lakshmibai of Telangana region who participated in tlie 
boycott of Simon Commission and Salt Satyagraha. Even she did 
not participate from Telangana. 

SOCIO, ECONOMIC BACKGROUND 

The clarion call of Gandhiji touched the hearts of every woman 
belonging to middle, upper middle or rich classes. It was not only 
the women who had surplus gold tliat offered their ornaments to Bapu 
but even women witli minimum gold like a single pair of bangles 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


181 


or chain did not hesitate Age could not prevail on temptation; young 
girls as well as old women and children spontaneously oflered, w'hat- 
ever they had. Women from lower economic groups alst) did not 
vacillate to sacnlice whaievei little tlicy had to achieve tins noble 
objective. 

A large number of women from coastal dislncLs could play a 
brisk part unlike in otlier interior districts of Andlira and even other 
States of India probably because tlic coastal districts were economically 
prosperous with thriving agriculture. Tliis economic security enabled 
them to concentrate on social and political activities. Economically 
well to do families not only came to tlic forefront but supported tlic 
movement financially as well. They were morally supported by die 
middle and upper middle classes who happened to be tlie enlightened 
class of the day in the scx:iety. 

With the help of the District Magistrate reports sent to die 
provincial authorities during 1930 and 1942, we could make out that 
high class Hindus were the participtmts in the.se struggles while die 
depressed classes stayed out of the movement. These reports 
emphasised that die odier classes did not participate because of die 
benefits extended to tliem by the British Ckivenimcnt. Widi regards 
to the various castes involved in die movement, the District Magistrate's 
reports referred to the huidlords <uid tiieir ctisies like Kaninia, Telaga, 
Raju, Velama emd Brahmins in Guntur District. Kiimnia, Vysya, and 
Kapus in Krishna district, Kshatriyas, Vysyas and Braliminis in 
Godavari Districts, and Reddis in Ncllore district. Ttie Ziunindars 
opposed die movement. The.se reptirts reveal dial most of them 
belonged to forward castes. Many of diem liad English education 
first and initially joined English services. Naturally as enlightened 
persons they provided leadership in the struggle. Of course, the flesh 
and blood was supplied by the rank and file to the movement. The 
women participants also belonged to the same caste groups, with few 
exceptions at individual levels. 

From the .social angle we find neither orditidoxy nor social 
taboos prevented the women from entering into the arena. Hailing 
firom an orthodox middle class family Duvvuru Subbamma was the 
first lady to be arrested. A child widow, head shaved, wearing white 
.caree and following die social practices of the day noi only plunged 
info the movement but threatened the British witlt her strong deter- 
mination and eloquent speeche.s. 

The name of Mahatma was so powerful tliat it could not sa)p 
even the socially prohibited group like Devadasis or traditionally 



182 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


controlled women with pardahs from contributing their mite 
spontaneouly. 

A perusal of tlie biographies of tlie women of Andlira who 
participated m the movement helps us in drawing tlie following 
inferences regarding the force behind their participation 

1 . Under the first category, we find women who were 
influenced by their fathers and other family members 

2. The second category consists of the women who w-ere 
encouraged and supported by their husbands. 

3. The third category is that of women who jumped into the 
movement on account of circumstances and environment. 

4. Under the fourth category, we have women who joined 
the movement independently and spontaneously 

The following list indicate some of the names of women that 
were influenced by their fathers and other family members. 
Bhramaramba Sukhavasi daughter of Movva Krishnayya of Guntur 
district, Krishnavenamma Nagulla daughter of Kandepi Kotayya of the 
same district. Maitreyi D/o. O. Venakta Subbaiah of Nellore district. 
Palla Obamma D/o. Venakataswami Reddy of the same district. 
Aduithi Lakshmi Bai D/o. Varahagiri Venkata Jogayya Pantulu and 
also the sister of Sri V.V. Giri, from Srikakulam district, 
Kameswaramma, D/o. Kodukula Suryanarayana of Visakltapatnam 
district, Musunari Kasturidevi D/o. Yemeni Subramanyam of Krishna 
district and Radha Manoharam Potharaju D/o. Yemeni Suryanarayana 
of the same district. 

The second category of women who were encouraged and 
supported by their husbands were found in all the coastal districts of 
Andhra. Klamaladevi Vedantam, wife of Venakta Krishnayya who was 
also a freedom fighter, of East Godavari district was influenced by 
her husband. Manikyamba ELambhampati w/o. K. Satyanarayana, 
Ramsundaramma, w/o. Manapragada Krishna Rao, Kasibhatla 
Venkataramanamma, w/o. K. Lakshmi Narasimha Rao, Syamalamba 
Palakodeti w/o. Surya Prakasa Rao and Madduri Venkataramanamma, 
w/o. Annapumayya. B. Rajyalakshmamma and B. Rajeswaramma were 
the wives of two leading freedom fighters Dr. Brahma Josyula 
Subramanyam and Bulusu Sambamurthi respectively. In Guntur 
district Unnava Lakshmibayamma assisted her husband Unnava 
Lakshminarayana in establishing 'Sarada Niketan' an educational centre 
for girls in 1922. Another great woman of Guntur district was Bharati 
Devi, w/o. Prof. N.G. Ranga. In Nellore district Lakshmikantamma. 
w/o. Sri Bezawada Gopala Reddy was influenced by her husband. In 



Civil Disobedience Movement 


183 


Visakhapatnam Digumaurthi Janakibayamma w/o. Digumaurthi 
Ramaswami, who always lollowed die path ol her husband plunged 
into die Salt Satyagralia Movement in Krishna district. Saraswathi 
Gora w/o. Goparaju Riimachandra Rao, SiUimtUialakshmi Vidlabhanem 
w/o. V. Ramabrahmam. Sitartimamma Tangirala w/o. T Vinu-aghava 
Rao, Venkata Subbamma Maddali w/o. Venkatcswiu-a Rao were a few 
such others. In West Gtxlavtin District mention may be made of 
Annapurna Devi w/o. vSatyanarayana Raju, Kantiktunma Kovvali 
w/o. Gopala Rao, Lakshmidcvi Mudumba w/o. Doddaya Chtiryulu, 
Manikyamba Uddaraju w/o. Rtunaraju, Rukmim Lakshmipathi and so 
on under this category. We come across tibout 125 or a few more 
couples participating in die struggle from different ptms of Andhra. 

The thhd category of wtimen wefc diose who jumped into die 
movement on account of circumstances and surroundings. 
Krishnavenamma Bennuri of East Gtxlavari district, and Ponaka 
Kanakamma of Nellore district were some of such prominent partici- 
pants of this movement. 

The last category was that of the women who joined the 
movement spontaneously. Durgabai Deshmukh as a child ol eleven 
years entered the field by being inspired by Gandhiji. Devulapalli 
Satyavathamma of West Godavari, Duvvuru Subbamma, Yamini 
Pumatilakam, and others belonged to this categtiry. 

Objective behind participation of these women 

The sole objective of women at this stage was to follow the 
path of Mahatma to achieve Puma Swaraj through non-violence. In 
the process they were ready to face any hardship physical, mental or 
emotional. Hence life became not that simple for the administrators. 
Government sent police to find out what the pracharkas (propagators) 
say in the village. Problem.^ of such police were comparatively more 
than those of the pracharakas. They followed the pracharakas with 
no food. At times they did not understand what pracharakas told. 
Sometimes they could riot find fault with the pracharakas or on what 
they had preached. Finally tliey could not but appreciate the 
courageous and .sacrificial temperament of the pracharkas. Whenever 
the police met the pracharakas face to face some amversation used 
to take place. 

Another fact to be noted was that .some of the women who 
came to the field had personal crisis as young widows, and young 
women. Duvvuri Subbamma, Devulapalli Satyavatamma imd Vemuganti 
Papayamma were childless young widows. Durgabai had left the 
married life, and dedicated herself to die cause of freedom of the 


184 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

country and more for the upliftment of women. This led the women 
alter overcoming die crisis to a new consciousness of identity and 
their involvement witli political and social activity 

But very few women freedom fighters were successful as 
leaders during and after the Freedom Movement. Women like 
Durgabai could get the support and patronage of leaders like Gandhiji 
and Jawaliarlal Nehru, at national level and Bulusu SambamurUii and 
Kaleswara Rao at local level. Rukmini Lakshmipathi could become 
the minister. Digumartiii Janakibayamma assumed district level lead- 
ership and Sangam Lakshmibai was by minister at state level and so 
on. 

The mass participation of women in 1930 Satyagraha demon- 
-strated that tliey had been well trained and organised by the construc- 
tive programme. Many women joined the processions to break the 
laws, served various terms of imprisonment, suffered lathi charges, 
cmelty. loss of property, and loss of reputation. They willingly faced 
publicity and danger of the most trying kind while picketing at the 
liquor shops and the foreign cloth shops, walking in public processions, 
and in undergoing proceedings in the law courts. They sacrificed all 
kinds of cherished and religious privileges of caste, ceremonial purity 
and privacy during the compaign and in prison. The cause of swaraj 
swept all taboos and gave sufficient confidence to tlie women. 
Thousands of rural women made law-breaking universal, by breaking 
laws in forests and villages, where they stood with their children 
around them. They turned every home into a sanctuary for the law- 
breakers. Women selling the "salt of freedom" at every comer in 
the course of the Salt-Satyagraha universalised the concept. The 
support and activity of vast numbers of women demonstrated the 
viability and effectiveness, of the metliods of struggle adopted by 
Gandhi-led movement. Public consciousness registered women, not 
their class religion or region - as a phenomenon of the mass movement. 
Women became an important symbol of the movement's universalisation. 

Women satyagrahis in prison broke the barriers of class, caste, 
religion and language. Children were mothered by all, oiphans were 
adopted, solidarity was generated and the humanising influence of mass 
political participation was felt generally. 

The British were upset at the rate of women's participation im 
the .struggle According to tlie 1932 Annual Report of the Police 
Administration tlie presence of women was characterised as ' calculated 
to prove im embarrassment to tlie police". 

The Itu'ge presence of women in tlie campaigns upset British 




Civil Di.sdhc'clicncc Mo\cnicni 


185 


stereotypes ol Indian women and exposed poliee brulality More 
signifieantly it laid bare British liypotracy over Indian men's maltreat- 
ment of women, since British police, army ollieers and ”o\ernment 
ofticials were quite pieqsared to intimidate beat and sliooi women 
demonstrators 

Participation in the mass movement meant acquiring conlidence 
social and political awareness and exposure to the wider world These 
were intcgnil aspect.s ol acquiring new consciousness and beginning 
of tlie process ol restructuring relations between men iiml women. 

Ptirticipating in the mass movement by w'onien established <i 
dialectic between tlie domestic and public positum tJiey occupied. 
Domestic space became an area of slow' change, often obstructed by 
others as well as by norms and values internali.sed by women, but 
gradually opening to tlie tiutside world through political exposure ;md 
participation. A women in the* Indian National Movement could well 
remain at home and learn to reail and expand her knowledge of the 
world. She could feed and tend her clultiien aiui still picket the local 
toddy shops and prixluce Khadi yam. This kind ol programme and 
these forms of protests were very helplul and elleetivc in drawing 
large number of rural women into tlie movement. Moreover, w'omen 
on public platforms, in demonstrations, and while picketing or offering 
Satyagralia were defying and breaking their familial and customary 
roles. Witliout .spettking a wonl in favour of women's emancipation 
they began tlie proec.ss by emancipating themselves from exclusively 
home-bound functions and roles. 

In addition, women's piuticipation not only strengthened die 
freedom struggle but contributed for the eohc.sive nature of the 
Satyagraha. It helped in developing a common will among tlie young 
and old. Probably even the success of men at this stage was due to 
the support and ctxiperation they received from behind. The .service 
rendered by Andlira women during die intervening periods of each 
of these movements is equally constructive and prai.scworthy. Tlie 
preachings of Gandhiji found ti real and constructive re.sptin.se in die 
women of Andlira. The national .spirit that was infu.sed or inculcated 
in their minds during the cour.se ol die Movement had moved diem 
and prompted diem to retain it forever m die heart.s of die people. 
So they felt the necessity of directing die minds of the young people 
from their previous habits and practices, i.c., from one of fascination 
for western culture to that of imbibing a true .spirit of nationalism. 
The only way they found to achieve this end, was by establishing 
national .schools and colleges where they wanted to impart education 



186 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


to the younger generation on national values Every woman tried not 
only to make full use of her energies and capacities but to tap tlie 
latent potentialities, witli the result a number of service organisations 
emerged out of Freedom Movement. 

Even in the matter of harijan upliftment, tliey did not lag behind 
They had started harijan schools and hostels. Kolia Tayaramma started 
at Tenali. Alladi Annapurna at Nellore and so on. Many of tiiese 
institutions were neither recognised nor aided by the government. 
They were maintained purely with the voluntary contributions of tlie 
people. These institutions played the most significant role in 
developing the national outlook and native spirit. Along with these 
institutions the various conferences of women, provincial, district, and 
taluk, held under the auspices of the All India Women's Association 
had contributed to a large extent for the development of national spirit 
and outlook among the women of Andhra. Almost all women that 
participated in national movements have led or conducted at least one 
of these conferences or institutions. 


INDIVIDUAL 

SATYAGRAHA 


THE POIJTICAE DEADLOCK 

In September 1939, the vSecond World War broke out betweei 
Allied Nations and die Axis powers. As Great Britain, was a leading 
member of die Allied powers, die Viceroy in India, Lord LinliLligo%^ 
declared dirougli a Gazette Exuaordiiiiiry on 3rd September 1939, die 
outbreak of war between Germany and Great Bnmin and hence, India 
was also at win widi Germany. He made this declaration without 
informing die Central Legislative Assembly It was most humiliating 
as India was made a party to die war without her consent. It wa? 
equally a great humiliation to die Indian National Congress and die 
popular ministries dial were formed in die Suites The Congress 
Working Committee meeting in Wardlia in October 1939 called upon 
the Congress Ministries to tender Uieir resignations. The Congres,*- 
met at Ramgarh under Moulana Ahul Kalam Azad, between 16di and 
20di of March 1940, and declared inability m associating wnth a war, 
which was smd to he for democraiic freedom. Freedom was denied 
to her, and nothing short ol conipleic independence was acceptable 
to die Indian people. This has led to Constitutional deadlock for a 
very long time. The Congress has decided to launch once again die 
Civil Disobedience cjimpaign and has issued instructions to the effeci 
diat m anticipation of future action, Satyagraha councils might be 
formed all over die country for enrolling volunteers for the Non- 
cooperadon Movement, Gandhiji was again empowered by the 
Congress Working Committee to lead the country. Gandhiji explained 
dial civil resistance would, however, be suiited not on a mass scale 
as, it would cause embarrassment to the British and it would be not 
for the assertion of Indi*a right to independence but for the right of 
the people for civil liberties, of which freedom of speech was die most 
important ingredient. 

Gandhiji met the Viceroy and sought for his permission to make 
anti-war speeches. But die Viceroy refused die request of Gandhiji. 
He asked die Congress party members to offer individual Satyagraha. 
Thus die natural sequel to this was die suirdng of the individual civil 
disobedience campaign by Gandhiji on October 17di, 1940 with 
Acharya Viiioba as die first Satyagrahi. 

The new Satyagndia campaign passed through several stages. 
Ill it die first stage winch lasted till 17th November, 1940, prominent 


188 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


individu^ils were selected tor ottering Satyagraha In die second stage 
which ended on 5Ui Janu^iry 1941, die campaign beccime "represen- 
tative Satyagndia" as Gcindhiji called it The diird suige commenced 
Irom January 5th 1941, with longer lists ot Satyagniliis selected by 
the Congress Committee in each province. In die tourdi stage in April 
1941. permission was given even to die ordinary tour anna members 
of the Congress to get enrolled among die Satyagrahis, which resulted 
in a sharp rise in their number. 

Gandhiji gave instructions dial only those who knew spinning 
and who took interest in die constructive programme should be 
included in die lists of Satyagraliis. 

Several arrests were made dirougliout die country. Some of 
die women who were sentenced to imprisonment during diis period 
in Andlira, district-wise, were as follows, Jagadamba Pandiri in East 
Godavari district was detained in 1940 in connection with die anti- 
war propaganda, Annapurna Uppala. Hanumayamma Vasireddi. 
Kanialamba Kodali, Lakshmibayamma Unnava, Mamkyamba Vavilala. 
Maiiikyamba Chukkapalli, Nagalakshmi Vandanapu, Nagamma 
Vasireddy. Rajyalakslimi Basavaraju, Bharathi Devi Ranga. 
Rajyalakslinii Devi Suryadevara, Rajyalakslimamma Suryadevara. 
Raniakoti Punnamma Muiiagapati, Ratnamma Gollamudi. Tulasamma 
Kalluru. Ushadevi Aramandla Venkata Nagalakshmi Motamarri. 
Veiikayamma Revella, Akliilandeswari. Vasireddy, Lakshmamma, and 
G. Lila Devi from die present Prakasam District. 

About six women participated in die Satyagralia from die 
Krishna district. They were Marupilla Bhramaramba. 
Lakshminarasainma Gonuguntla. Ratnamaiiikyamba Mallampati, 
Sitanialialakshmarnma Vallabhaneni. Sitaramamma Gullapalii and 
Uppala Sholinger, 

Nellore dsitrcit was represented by Rukminamma Kobaka, and 
Lakshmi Kantamma Bezawada. 

Bala Krishnamma Duvvada, Gunnamma’ Sfisumanu, Ltikshmi 
Bai Adurdii, and Punnamma Gorla were the participains from die 
Srikakuhim District. ^ 

Lingamma Sistla. Malia Lakslimamma Kalaiiiuidhabhatta, and 
Sodemma Sistla were die participants from Vis^ikliapatnam district. 

From West Godavari district. Ammiuina Raja Chodagam. 
Malpun Chukkimuiia. Kaiiak^imiiliahikshmi Kotaniiirthi. Ltikshmi 
Narasiuiinia Srmg^irakavi. Chunduri Ratnamma. Rukmiiii Lakshmipadii. 
Saraswathi Dcm Kotikalapudi, Venkayaninia Gokaraiu and Miuiikyamba 
Saitiraiu were die participants in the Satyagraha 




Iiutividuai Satyagraha 


im 


In Rayalasecnui, we find (hat the wunicn's participation com- 
menced with Individual vSalyagiaha From Anantapur district. Santahai 
Pratapagin and LJmabayamma Karanam, from C'hittor district, 
Janakamma, V. Narasamnia, H. Shakuntala Tambuliapaih Nallapa 
Reddy from Cuddapali district, and Narasamnia Hurdagm, and Irorn 
Kuruool district Aniaravatamma Sirdar, Lakshmuievamma, 
Subbaratnamma Elukuru an<l otiiers look part 

Finally in Andhra out ot eight hundred eighty two participants 
about fifty five women were arrested and a sum of Rs. 76,553 was 
collected in the form of fines, m connection with Individual Satyagraha 

The relation between the British authorities and the nationalists 
became much worse in August, September 1941, owing to the Atlantic 
Charter. The Japanese attack on India appeared imminent. All die 
leaders and Congressmen who were sentenced m die first days ol the 
Satyagraiia ctuiipaign were released from the puls only after die expiry 
01 their term of imprisonment, i.e. November 1941 In December, 
die government of India announced that all Civil Disobedience 
prisoners whose offences w'cre formal or symbolic in character would 
be set free. Almost all of them were released in course of a month 
diough the ciunpaign of Indivuiual Satyagraha was not formally 
wididrawn. Tiic movement could be considered to have come to an 
end by the end of 1941: diere w^as no unanimity of opinion at the 
Congress. The differences were so strong and uncoinpronnsable that 
each moved m a separate diicction. It was under this background 
the ’’Quit India Movement” and the August Revolution of 1942 became 
inevitable. 

In the meanwhile dicre arose certain differences in tlic objec- 
tives of these various leftist organisations like Forward Block, 
Communist party, All-India Students’ Federation, All India Kisaa and 
Socialist party. AH these parties agreeil to the resumption of Civil 
Disobedience Miivement not on individual basis but on a ctillcctivc 
mass scale and immetliatcly started making anti-war speeclics. 

It IS in this connection iliat die All-India Kisan Conference held 
at Palasa in die present Snkakulam district on March 26th and 27th 
attracted the attention of tiie public and the government. ’’The 
resolutions were passed on anti-zamindari, anti-government, anii-war 
and anti-congress right wing. The conference was also, to some extent, 
resptmsihlc for tJic defiance of* forest rules by Uic ryots i>f the Maadasa 
estate. The police resorted to firing, as a result of wliich five persons 
including a women were killed. Prof. Ranga wlio defied the piohibitory 
orders was prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment 



190 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


The leftists m Andhra continued their attacks on tlie Congress 
and on tlie Bntish tliroughout tlie year 1941 They condemned tlie 
individual Satyagraha of the Congress which did not have mass 
involvement Presiding over the Zamindari Ryots' conlerence at 
Chirala, on 21st January 1941, Bharatlii Devi Ranga insisted tliat every 
kisan peasant and worker should sacrifice for Swaraj but not tlirough 
the individual Satyagraha as launched by Congress So they requested 
the Congress to modify their programme from individual to a mass 
Satyagraha. 

All of them attacked the British Government for its imperialistic 
attitude and not conceding to the demand for India's Independence. 
Subhash Chandra Bose secretly left India in January 1941 to work 
with Germans and Japanese to fight the British. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF THE WOMEN WHO TOOK PART 
IN THE INDIVIDUAL SATYAGRAHA OF 1940-41. 
EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT 

Jagadamba Pandiri 

Jagadamba was a resident of Kakinada and daughter of 
Dr. M.V. Veerayya. She was bom on April 1919 at ParlaJkimidi of 
Ganjam district. She was a social worker, and was detained in 1940 
in eonnection with the anti-war propaganda. She also worked in Trade 
Union Movement. She was elected as a member of Rajamundry 
Municipal Council, in 1947. 

GUNTUR DISTRICT 

Annapurnamma Uppala 

Annapumamma was a resident of Gollamudipadu, Bapatla 
taluk. She was the daughter of Konagala Ramayya and wife of 
Veerayya. She took part in Individual Satyagralia of 1940 but was 
not arrested. 

Hanumayamma Vasireddy 

Hanumayamma, bom in 1910. was resident of Chebrolu in 
Tenali taluk. She was the daughter of Devabhaktuni Veerayya and 
wife of Kotayya. She took part in the anti-wiu' propaganda. 
Kamalamma Kodali 

Kamalamma was a resident of Moparru of Tenali taluk She 
was the daughter of Gogineni Riuna Kotayya luid wife of Kutumba 
Rao She took part in tlie 1940 Individual .Satyagraha but was not 
luxested. 


Individual Satyagraha 


191 


Lakshmibayamma Unnava 

Lakshniibayamnui again sulCcrcti ihrce nmnilis' imprisonment 
Irom March 5, 1941 and was lodgeil m Vellore jail during die 
Individual Satyagraha Movement 

Lakshmamma, <». 

Lakshmamma was a resident ol Guntur, she had oOered 
Individual Saiyagndia, tuid was convicted luid sentenced under die DIR 
by die Sub-Divisumal Magistrate. Guntur, to undergo imprisonment 
till die rising ol the court. 

Manikyamba Vavilala 

Manikyaniba was a resident ol Sattenapalli. and wile ol Rama 
Sarma, who was alsti a freedom lighter since 1930. She offered 
Individual Saiyagrtdia luid had undergone tliree months' R.I Irom 
January 30, 1941 in Vellore and C'uddapah Jails 
Manikyamba Chukkapalli 

Manikyiunba a rcsulent of Kancharlapalem. I'eiiali taluk, was 
die daughter ol Bollineni Kotayya and wile ol C'hukkapalli Kotayya. 
She wa.s sentenced to three months' imprisonment fiom January 30. 
1941 and was lodged in Velhire and C'uddapah Jiuls lor participating 
in die Individual Satyagraha. 

Nagalak.shmi Vandenapu 

Nagakikslimi was a resident ol Guntur and wife ol Sambamurdii 
She was a teacher by profession and hail participated in the Individual 
Satyagraha Movement was convicted under the D.I.R., ami sentenced 
on Februiiry 3, 1941 to undergo two mondis’ R.I. She wtis incarcerated 
in Vellore and Cuddtipali jails. 

Rajyalakshmi Biisavaraju 

Rajyalakshmi was a resident tif Guntur and wife tif B. Apptirao, 
a teacher, who lotik part in the Individual Satyagraha Mtivement and 
was convicted under D.LR. She was sentenced on February 3, 1941 
for two months' R.I. and was conlined in Vellore and C'uddalo.''c jails. 
Rajyalak.shmaminu Suryadevara 

The dcutils of her lile history were given under tiie C'lvil 
Disobedience Movement. She participated in Uie Individual Satyagraha 
and aLso in 1940 and undeiwent imprisonment. 

Rajyalak.shmi Devi, Suryadevara 

Rajyalakshmi Devi was tilso a.ssociatcil w-ith the Individual 
Satyagraha and underwent two months' impnsoiiment Irom Fcbiuary 
1. 1941 — February 3. 1941 in Velhire jail. 



192 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Kalnamma^ (iollamudi 

Ratniimma ottered Individutil Satyagrjrilia but was not iurested 
Ramakotipunnamma Munagapati 

Ramakotipuniifimma, a resident ot Satubir, in Nimisiiraopet, is 
the wite ot Hanumayya and had offered Individual Satyagratia. She 
underwent tliree months imprisonment trom July 12, 1941 to October 
11, 1941 in Vellore jail. 

Tulasamma, Kaliuru 

Tulasamma was a resident of Moparru, in Tenali taluk She 
IS tlie daughter of Kodaii Krishnayya and wife of Rangayya. She 
had participated m the Individual Satyagralia Movement, in 1940 but 
was not arrested 

Usha Devi, Aramandla 

Usha Devi, a resident of Kuchipudi, in Tenali taluk, is tlie 
daughter of Jasti Sriramulu and wife of Munis wara Rao. She took 
pari in Uie Individual Satyagralia Movement, in 1940 but was not 
arrested. 

Venkayamma, Ravella 

Venkayiimma had also offered Individual Saiyagnilia in 1940 
but was not arrested. 

Akhilandeswari, Vasireddy 

Akliilandeswari bom in 1917, is a resident of Chebrolu, m 
Tenali taluk. She is the daughter of Potina Narayana Swamy, imd wife 
of Chitti Alias Apipala Swamy, who is also a freedom fighter. She 
had olfered Individual Satyagralia and was sentenced on September 
15. 1941 to imprisonment till tlie rising of tlie court and also had 
to pay a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default to undergo furtlicr imprisonment 
for one montli and was interned in Vellore jail. 

Balatripura Sundaramma, Ayyadevara 

In 1941 at tlie call of tlie nation, Balatripura Sundtiramma 
resigned her job and offered Individual Satyagralia again. 
Lakshmikantamma, Kollipara 

Lakshmikantamma again took part in tlie Individual Satyagralia 
and underwent imprisonment. 

Lakshminarasamma., Gonuguntla 

Lakshminarastmima previously oflered Individual Satyagralia 
and was awarded on 18 6 1941 a fine ol Rs. 50/- or in default to 
undergo three montlis’ imprisonment vShe was released IVom die lail 
on .July 18. 1941 on payment ol the tine. Again she oUered Satyagralia 



Individual Satyagralia 


193 


and v/as sentenced on September 16, 1941 to six months' R.I., and 
was released on December II. 1941 from Vellore jail 
Sitamahalakshmi, Vallabhaneni 

Sitamahalakshmi again ollercd Individual Satyagralia, and was 
sentenced on 19.3 1941 to undergo impn.sonment till the rising ol court 
and to pay a fine ol Rs. 300/- tir in default to undergo further vS.I 
for three montlis'. She was incarcerated in tlie Vellore jail. 
Ratnamanikyam, Mallampati 

Ratnamanikyam, born in 1926, is a resident of Vekkalagadda 
of Divi taluk. She is the wife of Nagabhushana Vamia. She ttiok 
part in Individual Satyagnilia Movement in 1941 along witli her 
husband at the age of fifteen but was not arrested as .she was a minor. 

Sitaramamma, (rullapalli 

Sitaramamma as a resident of Godtiviuru of Vijayawada taluk; 
She is the daughter of Venkayya. She had olfered Individual 
Satyagraha and was sentenced for three months' imprisonment from 
July 23, 1941 to October 23, 1941 and was lodged in Velkire jiul. 
Zolinger (Sholinger Melly) 

Melly Sholinger, a Swiss lady who married Dr. Uppala 
Lakshmana Rao, wtus a resident of Vijayawada. She was born in 1898 
in a well to do family but suddenly her lather's position changed luid 
she was forced to stop her medical studies, and become a home science 
graduate. She read tlie btxik, on "Liie of Clandhi" which inspired 
her to visit India. She came to India in 1929. She attended Uie Lahore 
Congre.ss with Digumarthi Ramaswami and Jiuiakibayamma. She 
travelled in India in III class. She stayed in Sahiuinathi A.shram (ol 
Gandhiji) for sometime. She participated in all Uie Congre.ss 
Movements. In 19.30 she participated in .Sail Satyagralia Movement 
in Vijayawada along with Paihirthi Sundiu-tunma, tuid Perumbudur 
Subhadramma. She prepiu'cd and sold salt tind collected funds lor 
the Congress. The British Government had he.sitated to arrest her. 
She received training in khadi work at Stibamiati A.shram. She used 
to catch .snakes in and around Ashnim and leave tliem clesewliere. 
She fought witli Gandhiji and obtained permission to patrol die 
Ashram. She stayed for lliree years in Srikakulam Khadi Development 
Board and learnt producing line khadi from Ponduru, tind other placc.s. 
She did re.search and many experiments along wiili her husband in 
production of line dehctite khadi and these were published tn tlie 
Telugu maga/.ine 'Bharathi'. She loured all over Andhra and visited 
otlier Gandhi Ashrams and Hindi schools. She got married in 1937 
and settled in Vijayawada. She had ollered Individual Satyagraha. and 



194 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


had suffered three months imprisonment from March 27, 1941 in 
Vellore jail Again she was convicted under the DIR and sentenced 
on August 21, 1941 to six months' S.I. She was incarcerated in the 
Vellore jail. She took part again in Quit India Movement, and was 
awarded, on November 2, 1942, two years' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 

750/- or in default to undergo further six months' R.I. and was interned 
in the Vellore jail. She continued to wear khadi till her death on 
27th July, 1965. 

NELLORE DISTRICT 

Lakshmikantamma, Bezawada 

Lakshmikantamma was bom on February 4th 1921, and is a 
resident of Butchireddypalem, in Kovur taluk. She is the daughter 
of Tikkavarapu Rami Reddy and wife of Bezawada Gopala Reddy. 
She studied Intermediate at Shantiniketan. She offered Individual 
Satyagraha, and was sentenced on 4.3.1941 to three months' impris- 
onment and a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default to undergo further 
imprisonment for three months. The fine was paid. She was 
imprisoned in Vellore jail. 

Rukminamma, Kobaka 

Rukminamma, a resident of Venkatagiri, is the wife of Subbayya. 
She offered Individual Satyagraha, and served three months' S.I. from 
January 10, 1941 to April 9, 1941 in Vellore and Cannanore jails. 

SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT 

Balakrishnamma, Duvvada 

Balakrishnanuna is a resident of Mandasa in Sompeta taluk. 
She was awarded one years' R.I. on September 14, 1940 for 
participating in the Mandasa Estates Ryots agitation in March, 1940. 
Gunnamma, Sasumanu 

Gunnamma was bom at Mandasa in Sompeta taluk. She was 
in the forefront of the ryots agitation in the Mandasa Estate in 1940. 
She had severely criticised the illegal and repressive deeds of the 
government officials and had resisted the police while tlie latter were 
trying to arrest the persons who had defied the forest laws. The police 
opened fire due to which she died on April 1, 1940. She was pregnant, 
when she was shot dead at Rajamanipuram. The village was later 
named after her "Veera Gunnammapuram". 

Punnamma, Gorla 

Punnamma is a resident of Manda.sa, in Sompeta taluk. She 
took part in the Mandasa Estate Ryots' agitation m March 1940. She 
received a severe gunshot wound during the police firing on April 



Individual Salyagraha 


195 


1, 1940 at Rajamanipuram. She was sentenced on vSeptember 14, 1940 
to suffer imprisonment till tlie rising of tlie court by the sessions judge, 
Visakhapatnam. 

PRAKASAM DISTRICT 

Lila Devi, Chigireddi 

Lila Devi, bom in 1926, is a resident of Bogili, Giddalore taluk. 
She is the daughter of Kotireddi Peddareddy and wife of Bali Reddy. 
She offered Individual Satyagraha and was .sentenced on January 25, 
1941, to four months' S.I. and a fine of Rs. 400/- or in default to 
undergo further three montlis' S.I. She was interned for seven months' 
in the Vellore jail. Her husband was also a freedom fighter. 

VISAKHAPATNAM DISTRICT 

Lingamma, Sistla 

Lingamma also underwent three months imprisonment during 
the Individual Satyagralta. 

Sodenuna, Sistla 

Sodemma is a resident of Dimili in Ekunanchili tsiluk. She 
is the wife of Kameswiira Rao. She took part in die 1940 Individual 
Satyagraha Movement, smd was sentenced to three mondis' imprison- 
ment. 

Lady Desai 

Lady Desai, w/o. M.G. Desai is a resident of Visakhapatnam. 
She was arrested under the D.I.R. for offering Individujil Satyagraha 
in 1941. 

Mahalakshmamma, Kalanadhahhatia 

Mahalakshmamma also offered Individual Satyagraha and served 
three months' S.I. from January 21, 1941 in Vellore and Caddalore 
jails. 

WEST GODAVARI DISTRICT 

Ammanna Raja, Chodagam 

Ammanna Raja was bom on 2nd June, 1909 at Machilipatnam 
in Krishna Distirct. vShe is a resident of Eluru. She is the daughter 
of Gandham Veerayya Nsiidu and wife of Jansirdhan Rao. She studied 
B.A. in Queen Mtiry’s College Madnus in 1932 and joined Teachers' 
Training in Lady Willington Training College lor L.T. As her faUier 
retired, she worked a.s a teaclier in Madras and in many other places, 
like Secunderabad, Bapatla etc. from 1933-1936. Then in response 
to tlie nation's call, she resigned her [ob and took to politics. vShe 
was elected from Eluru women.s’ constituency as Member of Uie 



196 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Legislative Assembly of composite Madras state in 1937. She 
represented the Assembly seat in the Andhra University senate. She 
resigned her Assembly membership and took part in tlie Individual 
Satyagraha Movement She was sentenced on November 28, 1940 to 
one year's S.I. and a fine of Rs. 500/- or in default for furdier six 
montlis S.I. Tlie fine was paid. She was Interned in Vellore jail. 
She met other women like Rukmini Lakshmipathi, Radhabai Subbarayan. 
Krishnabai Nimker Melly Sholinger, Bezwada Lakshmikantamma, 
Vallabhaneni Sita Malialakshmamma, Kutti Ammalamma and others. 
All these women were kept in cells. When the Inspector General 
visited tlie jail. Ammama Raja asked him to leave these women free 
as they were all political prisoners and would never try to escape. 
The police official got convinced and left tltem free in the corridors. 
They had English and Hindi classes in jail. Tliey enjoyed tlie jail life 
playing chess, badminton, and spinning. Ammanna Raja used to spin 
fast and Vallabhaneni Sitamaha Lakshmamma was good in spinning 
fine thread. There were competitions. Ammanna Raja again won as 
a Congress candidate against the communist candidate Dr. Atchamamba 
in 1946 elections from Eluru. reserved constituency. She was elected 
as Deputy Speaker till 1952. She assisted Df. Mutliulakshmi Reddy 
in passing tlie Devadasi bill and Anti Dowry bill in 1950. 

In 1955 she got elected form Attili, West Godavari District, 
constituency in tlie mid-term elections to Assembly till 1960. Then 
she was a member of PCC and AICC, and was closely connected 
witli almost all the women's activities in the State. She was a member 
of the Andhra State Social Welfare Board. She worked for the progress 
of women in all fields, particularly in the field of education. She served 
as Chairman. State Council for Women's Education. She worked as 
Member of Parliament from 1962-1968, Member Andhra Pradesh State 
Advisory Committee for Freedom Fighters' pension scheme, from 
February 1974 - March 1976, and Chairman of Andhra Pradesh 
Women and Child Welfare Board in which she worked for the 
registration of women in Employment Exchange. She supported 
Evening Colleges and separte women's college for Physical Education. 
Being independent, and straight forward in nature, she helped the 
cyclone relief activities on a large scale. 

She got married on 27tli August, 1940, just before the Individual 
Satyagraha. widi her husband’s permission she joined tlie movement. 
He died in 1957. 

Lakshininara.samnia, Sringarakavi 

Lakshminiirasamma was also associated witli the 1940-41 
Individual Satyagralia Movement 


Individual Satyagralia 


197 


Ratnamma, Chunduri 

Ratnamnia again offered Individual Satyagraiia and was awarded 
on December 16, 1946, .six montlis' R 1. and a fine of Rs. 500/-; the 
fine was extracted, and she was kept in the Vellore jail. She helped 
a great deal for tlie popularisation of khadi and worked for prohibition 
and Harijan upliftnient. She took interest in the propagation of Hindi. 
She was elected as Chiurman, Eluru Municipal Council in 1940. She 
was the first woman to be elected as a Municipal Chairman in Andhra. 
Kanakamahalakshmi, Kotamarthi 

Kanalcamahalakshmi once again offered Individual Satyagraiia 
and was sentenced on January 15, 1941 to six months' S.I. and a fine 
of Rs. 55/-. The fine was collected. She was incarcerated m Vellore 
and ■ Cuddalorc jails. She was lathi charged several times while 
participating in the Satyagraha Movements. 

Rukmini, Lakshmipathi 

Rukmini Lak.shmipatlii again offered Individual Satyagraha tuid 
underwent one years' S.I. from November 21, 1940 and was lodged 
in Vellore jail. 

Saraswathi Devi, Kotikalapudi 

Saraswathi Devi again offered Individual Satyagraha and .served 
three months' and six weeks R.I. from February 3, 1941 and wtis lodged 
in Vellore and Caddalore jails. 

Venkayamma, Gokaraju 

Venkayamma was a resident of Juvvalapalem, in Bhimavaram 
taluk. She is the daughter of Mania Venkaut Raju and wife of 
Suryanaiayana Raju. She took part in the Individual Satyagraiia and 
was sentenced on January 15, 1941 for .six montlis’ R.I. and a fine 
of Rs. 15/- or in default further three months R.I. The fine was 
collected and she was imprisoned in Vellore and Cuddalore jails. 
Chukkanuna, Malpuri 

Chukkamma again underwent three months' R.I. from Jamiary 
6, 1941 in Vellore jail for offering Individual Satyagraha. 

RAYALASEEMA 
ANANTAPUR DISTRICT 

Kasamma, Uluru 

Kasamma had participated in Individual Satyagraiia and under- 
went nine months imprisonment. She was a member of Kasturba 
Memorial Trust Fund. vShe was the Secretary of All India 'Women's 
Conference, Anantapur. 



198 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Santa Bai, Pratapgiri 

Santabai, bom in 1905, was a resident of Anantapur. She is 
the daughter of Subramanyam, and the wife of Ramamurthi. She had 
participated in the Individual Satyagraha Movement and suffered three 
months' imprisonment from January 20, 1941 in the Vellore jail. 
Umabayamma, Karanam (Sethur) 

Umabayamma is a resident of Sethur, BCalyandurg taluk. She 
is the daughter of Surappa. She was sentenced on January 25, 1941 
to three months' R.I. under the D.I.R. for offering Individual Satyagraha 
and for inciting the people against the Second World War. She 
suffered a term of imprisonment in Vellore and Cuddalore jails. 
CHITTOOR DISTRICT 

Janakamma 

Janakamma is a resident of Nagari, in Puttur taluk. She is the 
daughter of K. Varadachary. She took part in the Individual 
Satyagraha Movement and was sentenced on January 17, 1941 to 
und^go five months' imprisonment under the D.I.R. and was confined 
in Vellore jail. 

Narasamma, H. 

Narasamma is a resident of Tirumala, Chandragiri taluk. She 
started mfi-war slogans on February 21, 1941 at Chandragiri during 
the Individual Satyagraha Movement, and was convicted on the same 
day by the Joint Magsitrate, Chandragiri, under the D.I.R.; sentenced 
to imprisonment till the rising of the court and had to pay a fine of 
four annas or in default to suffer S.I. for one day. The Magistrate 
himself paid the fine and thus deprived her of the privilege of going 
to jail, for the sake of the country. 

CUDDAPAH DISTRICT 

Narasamma, Hardagiri 

Narasamma is a resident of Rayachoti, and wife of H.N. 
Simham. She participated in the Individual Satyagraha Movement in 
1940 and was sentenced and fined by the Sub-Collector, Chandragiri. 
Seshamma, Veena 

Seshamma-was bom on 10th September, 1876 at Eppirala in 
Sidhout taluk. She was the wife of Govindarajulu a teacher. She 
had propagated khadi. She offered Satyagraha at Upparapalle in 1940 
but was not arrested. She died on 23rd December 1954. 


Individual Satyagraha 


199 


kurnool district 

Amaravathamma, Sirdar 

Ajmaravatlisunma is a resident ot Kota Kuniool. Slie is die 
daughter of Ycnumula Anktuina, wile ol Sirdar Nagappa. who was 
a leading freedom fighter in Kuniool district. She along with him 
took part in the Individual Satyagralia Movement, and was kept in 
Kurnool sub-jail for two months as an undertritil prisoner before her 
conviction. She underwent 10 months' R.I. from January 25, 1941 
in the Vellore jail. 

Lakshmi Devamma 

Lakshmi Devamma is a resident of Nandyal. She started anti- 
war slogans, and was convicted under the D.I.R. by the Joint 
Magistrate, Nandyal, and was .sentenced* on February 11, 1941 to three 
months' R.I. She was kept in Vellore and Cuddalore jails. 
Subbaratnamma, Elukuru 

Subbaratnamma a resident of Nandyal, is die wife of Ellayya. 
She made anti-war propaganda. She was convicted under die D.I.R. 
and sentenced on 4.3.1941 to diree months’ R.I. mid a fine of Rs. 
10007- or in default undergo furdier four mondis' R.I. Tlie fine was 
paid. She underwent the imprisonment in Vellore jail. Her husband 
attended various national meetings at Nandyal and participated in the 
Civil Disobedience and Quit India Movements. 

Leela Devi, Chegireddy 

Leela Devi was a resident of Bogolu. Her father was Kctireddy 
Peddareddy. She is the wife of Bali Reddy, who participated in the 
Rayalaseema Ryot Movement. She participated in the 1941 Individual 
Satyagraha, and suffered seven months imprisonment. She was the 
joint-secretary of Andhra Rashtra Ryot Sangham, and a member of 
Kurnool District Congress. 

RESUME 

On a perusal of the course of the struggle and the biographies 
of the women who participated in the Individual Satyagraha, the 
foDowing conclusions may be drawn. 

One conspicuous fact is tliat more women participated in the 
Salt Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience Movement, than in the 
Individual Satyagraha Movement. Civil Disobedience Movement had 
a mass character. Every woman was inspired, irrespective of the fact 
that they might have to come from coastal regions or interior parts. 
Mass awakening was there which was also responsible for the larger 
participation. But Uie period that followed Uic Civil Disobedience 
Movement was die the period in which elections took place and for 
the first time. Congress Ministries formed the government in many 



200 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


provinces So tlie people settled down almost to normalcy and a sudden 
upsurge regarding the II World War could not inspire die people in 
general and women in particular Tliey did not react as there was 
more fear about die war dian any odier diing. 

Secondly, the very character of the movement was also 
responsible for the small number. The movement was not a mass 
movement in which everyone could take part. It was confined to the 
individuals who had to be selected by Gandhiji or. Congress and die 
odier local leaders. The restrictions imposed on selection of the 
candidates for participation were also responsible for the small number. 
Gandhiji gave instructions that only those who knew spinning and who 
took interest in the constructive programme should be included in the 
lists of Satyagrahis. Evendiough almost every woman adhered to 
spinning and constructive work, since selection was not liberal i.e. 
confined to a few, it narrowed the scope; many were not included 
in the list of Satyagrahis. It was for this reason that the Satyagraha 
compaign had to pass through several changes and ultimately in April 
1941 had to give a chance even to the ordinary 'four anna' members 
of the Congress and as a result there was a sharp rise in tlieir 
membership. But by the time many people joined, the war situation 
altered die atmosphere and the movement came to an end by die end 
of 1941. 

Thirdly, the Second World War which was alarming both to 
the people and the government equally, was responsible for the small 
number of womens participation. The war was spread over a long 
period and all over die world. There were threats from Germany in 
the West and Japan in the East. The Japanese attack was more fearful 
as it occupied coastal China, Thailand and landed in Malaya, and so 
die attack on India appeared to be imminent. It was at this serious 
stage dial the movement was terminated leaving die people to their 
fate. People were not steered properly. 

Finally, tliere was a breach within the Congress. Many leftist 
organisations like Forward Bloc, Communist party and Kisan and 
Student Federations held different views on the question of non- 
violence as a method of defending the country against an external 
enemy like Japan. 

Some of the leaders wanted compromise with die British and 
people like Nehru objected to it Another factor was the growing 
rift between, the Hindus and die Muslims. The Communists were= 
very much against individual Satyagialia and wanted a mass move- 
ment Moreover a change suddenly came in die attitude of die 
Communists widi Hitler's attack on die Soviet Union. They started 
defending Britian's war effort in India and this created a confusion 
among die people. This sudden change in die attitude of •the 
Communists weakened the movement 


QUIT INDIA 
MOVEMENT 

1942 was wn epocli making and nuinicntous year in tine history 
of the freedom struggle, as it witnessed the commcncemeni of a new 
phase. Quit India Movement which maiked the final stage in die 
struggle had its origin and growth during this year. This movement 
echoed a revolutiomiry tinge as, not only Congress woikers but people 
belonging to all sections, participated in it. They all had the common 
purpose of liberating the country from the foreign yoke. It made tlie 
Bntish realise that if they did not consider Uie national demand, they 
would have to face a mass sponuineous violent struggle and it would 
be impossible to hold India any furdier. 

As it was already mentioned, tlie Individual Satyagraha came 
to an end witliout any rapproachment between the Congress jmd 
nationalist opinion in the country mul tlie Bntish Government. Tlie 
differences thus led to die Quit India Movement and the August 
Revolution of 1942, 

Hie changing war situation and die possibility of Japanese 
attack on India became the immediate cause ol the movement. Quit 
India Movement was the inevimblc solution to die situation in India. 
The Congress Working Committee passed a resolution at Wardlia on 
14th July, demanding die Biritsh Govenimcnt to Quit India. Gaiidhiji 

declared on 14 July "There is no room left for negotiaiton Either 

they recognise Indian Independence or they don't Tliere is no 

question of one more chtmee. Alter all this is open rebellion". The 
Quit India Movement became inevimble outcome of the failure of the 
Ciipps' Mission. The All India Congress Committee at Bombay passed 
the Quit India Resolution widi ail but thirteen out of two hundred 
fifty voting against on August 8th, 1942. This was followed by 
Gandhiji's stining speech, in which he uttered die mantra "Do or Die". 
It was .with this weapon die dial freedom fighters went to die battle 
in August 1942. 

But Gandhi ji and odicr leaders were arrested before the break 
of the day. This sudden removal of die leaders at aJl levels left die 
people in a confused state and there was no responsible man or woman 
to guide popular activities of the people. The Government thought 
that it could nip die movement in the bud through the arrest of these 
leaders at all levels. Instead, people bectime wild when they were 
leaderless and dii.s led to sponUmeous mass agitation. Hie people 



202 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


congregated in thousands and lakhs, though the Government discon- 
nected the telephone v^^ires. to avoid the spread of the news of arrest 
of Gandhiji and other leaders. Very soon die Government started the 
repressive action. The police lathi charged, tear gassed, and shot tliem 
down. Lady volunteers guarding the buildings were beaten, kicked 
and dishonoured. The masses grew more infuriated. Everyone proved 
a leader in himself. Groups of people in frenzy of fury and anger 
resorted to acts of destruction. They destroyed the Government 
property wantonly. 

The women of Andhra played a notable role in Quit India 
Movement. They promptly and bravely participated in the Movement. 
They organised camps to teach the principles of Constitution, civil 
duties, first aid, fonning women's organisations and drill and training 
in bearing lathi charges. Duvvuri Subbamma was lathi charged at 
Peddapuram in 1942, Ammanna, Parvatalu Chivukula, and Samrajyam 
Racharla, were arrested in East Godavari District during the Quit India 
Movement. 

From Guntur district Chittoori Annapurna Devi, a seventeen 
year girl was arrested while distributing pamphlets against the 
Government and picketing the subcourt at Tenali. Annapurna Devi 
Suryadevara, Annapumamma Uppala, Annapumamma Vadlamudi, 
Tummala Durgamba, Velagaleti Durgamba, Suryadevara Hymavathi, 
Kodali Kamalamba, Kousalya Madugula, Lakshmikantam 
Siddhabhaktuni, Kalyani Unnava, Mahalakshmamma Ganapathiraju, 
Vavilala Manikyamba, Chukkapalli Manikyamba, Kotipalli 
Manikyamba, Raghavamma Gaddipati, Raghavamma Ravavarapu, 
Rajyalakshmi Vasireddi, Rajylakshmamma Suryadevara, Rajyalakshmi 
Devi Suryadevara, MunagapatL Ramakotipumamma, Rangamma Nadella, 
Ratnamma Gollamudi, Santakumari, Satyavatamma Panditaradhyula, 
Seshamma Penumarthi, Sitamma Pattipati, Sitaramamma Devabhaktuni, 
Sitaratnamma Tummala, Soubhagyamma Kaja, Tulasamma Kalluni, 
Ushadevi Aramandla, and Venkayamma Ravella, about thirty four 
women were all arrested. 

From Krishna District about fifteen women participated in the 
Quit India Movement and were arrested. They were Amrutamma 
Emeni, Kasturidevi Masunuri, Lakshmikanta mm a Kollipara, Lakshmi 
Naxasamma Gonuguntla, Leelavathi Emeni, Manorama Goparaju, 
Radha Manoharaihpotha Raju, Raghavamma Kanuri, Rajeswari, 
Maddali, Saraswathi Goparaju, Sitaramamma Sittamraju, Venkata 
Ratnamamba Idupuganti, Venkata Subbamma Maddali, Uppala Sholinger 
Melly, and Venkata Narasamma Koya. 


Quit India Movement 


203 


In Nellore district about tour women were arrested In the list 
Lakshmamma Gaddam, Riimatihikamma Kaveti, P. Samraiyam and 
Sarojini Chella. 

Kameswartimma Kodukula, Sistla Ltikshminarasamma, vSistla 
Lingamma, Malialakshmamma Kalanadhabhatla, and Sisui Syama- 
sundaramma were tlie five women arrested from Visakhapatnam 
district. 

From West Godavtiri District we find about five women 
participatns in the Quit India Movement. Gogulammapenun, 
Nagasiromani Gaddey, Subhadradevi Vegesma, Venkataratntunma 
Degala, and Venkayamma Goktiraju were arrested. 

Awakening in Rayalaseema had jLs origin in 1940. Individual 
Satyagralia Movement converged into Quit India Movement ol 1942- 
1944. From Anantapur district, Venkamma from Chittoor district 
Anasuyadevi Tamballapalli, from Cuddapa district Narasamma 
Hardegiri, and from Kumol district AmtiravaUunma Sirdar, Boyamma 
Peram, and Ramakka Ballikallu represented this region. 

Some details of die incidents relating to the arrests of the 
women who participated in this mtivement tts published in new.spapers 
like Krishna Patrika, Andhra Patrika and personnel interviews held 
with some of the male and female participants reveal the following. 
Mahila Seva Mandali in Musulipatnam held a conference on 17Ui June 
1942 at 5.30 P.M. in Patartunannapeta Girls High School under die 
presidentship of Gurajada Rajamma, Vangala Niira.sabai B.A. spoke 
on war and the responsibiliues of die women during die war period. 
She said that instead of fighting for those rights which were not given, 
it would be better to retain the rights which were already there. She 
requested women to leave die kitchen at once and cooperate in the 
struggle for liberation. She asked the women to attend the classes 
on the concept of Swaraj, ARP, First Aid etc. The other women in 
the conference also emphasi.sed the stune. Thu.s the conference decided 
to resist the Japanese attack. 

The other new.spaper reports confirmed die arrests of die women 
who took part in various activities of the Quit India Movement. While 
distributing pamphlets in West Gtxlavari Indumadii Devi was arrested. 
Melly Sholinger (a Swiss lady) wife of Uppala Lakshmana Rao W'as 
arrested at Vijayawada while picketing before the lawyers houses. 

In Kumool district, Amaravatamma was arrested while distrib- 
uting pamphlets. At Komaravolu Gandhi A.shram, all the women of 
Emeni family were arre-sted and kept in the police station and released 
for celebradng Gandhi Jayanthi and were convicted later on. At 



204 Women of Andhra in die Freedom Struggle 


Bellary a woman aged fifty yetu-.s, motlier of Hanumantlia Rao was 
iurested while distributing pamphlets 

At Venkatagiri in Nellore district, Kaveti Rajcswaranrima was 
arrested while convening a meeting 

We also find a few girl students taking part in tlie Quit India 
Movement. At Madras, Sakuntala and Maria Joseph and Anasuya 
Reddy of Queen Marys College were arrested while speaking on tlie 
Congress activities before tlie secretariat. 

At Gollaprolu in East Godavari district, a women's meeting was 
held by- Maliidliara Seetlia Devi who discussed about the problems 
of tlie women and tlie need for ARP etc. The women were divided 
into nine groups to look after each of the activities. A girl students' 
organization was also established. 

THE COMMUNIST ACTIVITIES 

Participation of women in large numbers led to the establish- 
ment of several women's organizations in the beginning of forties. 
When Second World War started in 1939 1942 and came to tlieir 
very doorstep with the Japanese bombing Visakhapatnam and Kakinada 
in early 1943, the security and protection of the honour of the 
womenfolk became inevitable for women activists in Andhra. A mass 
organization of women, Andhra Maiiila Sangham came into existence 
with it base in the villages. Though the All India Women's Conference 
had set up some branches, they were confined to towns and higher 
strata of die society. So die Communist Party organised summer 
schools of politics for women in Kothapalem and in Mantenavaripalem 
in 1937-38 itself before the Second World War Started in 1939. These 
were intended to give some general political knowledge to die women 
members of the Communist Party". 

But these were only seeds diat were sown which started 
sproudng with the Japanese fascist attack. In Krishna district, a mass 
organisation of women was started, covering one hundred villages. For 
the first dme the peasant women began to be organised under a big 
mass organisation of women. At first about six diousand women 
belonging to working class of local unions were drawn in. It was 
a wonderful response - women with new awakening came forward.^ 
Satyavathi, a farmer's daughter, was the president of die Krishna 
District Mahila Sangham and by 1945 the number grew to eight 
diousand women. 

They organised training to spread their ideas among die women. 
They covered areas such as principles of maternity and child welfare. 



Quit India Movunient 


.205 


personal hygiene and saniialion Dr Komarraju .A.iehainaniha. a nnicd 
lady doctor, who wa.s the Piesideni ol the Andliia Maiula Sangham 
wrote small pamphlets in Telugu aNml 

— Maternity and child wellaie 

— Lessons on .scll-delenee troin goondas :ind reactionaries. 

— Les.sons on elementary tacts ol politics and on organising 
womens organizations etc 

— Community singing. 

By September 1943, four piovincial training camps lor women 
organisers were held which led to the spread ol the Sanghams all over 
Andhra. The.se training camps provuleil a batch ol Mahila organisers 
who were constantly touring the villages solving local problems, and 
compaignmg on the need lor minimum .sanitarv lacililies lor women 
in tlie villages by the local authorities, which immensely populari.scd 
the sanghams. 

Groups in the villages learnt tire-tighlmg not only lor Japanese 
bombing but also to put down lire accnlents in the villages. The 
women tried to .solve some ol the local problems like collecting lation 
cards for tlie poor and illiterate, demanding Hindu women’s property 
rights, .securing adequate dunking water lacililies and so on. 

By April 1944, the Aiulhra Mahila .Sanghams grew into a bigger 
mass organisation ol women in Andhra wnth twenty thousand members. 
These were till middle cla.ss women. I3r. Komanaiu Atchamamba was 
the president tuid .Suryavalhi was its secretary. The working conmuitee 
members gave away their jewellery to linancc their growing aclivitiy. 
Dr. Atchamtimba prepared a memorandum for the provisions ol some 
facilities in the villages lor women and collected ten thousand 
signatures. In fact, Andhra had the biggest mass organisation ol 
women next to Bengal. Most ol these women belongetl to pca.santry 
class. They participsiteil m the All India Kisan C'onferencc held at 
Vijayawada in April 1944. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF THE WOMEN WHO 
ORGANISED C:ONFERENCE 

Dr. Komarraju Atchamamba 

Dr. Atchamamba was born on 6th October, 1906 at fJuntur in 
a noble family. Her fatlier Komarraju Lakshmana Rao wa.s a notable 
literary figure, who had played an important role rn the struggle for 
the independence luul for cultural lenai.s.sancc in Andhra. He wa.s a 
lawyer by prote.ssnui but spent much of his time, and energy lor the 
country. Dr. Atchamamba inherited Uie qualities of her lather. .Slie 
had from her mother’s side great {K'ople in the family. Dr K.L. Rati 
a lormer minister in Neliru's cabinet was her maternal uncle and 
Bandaru Atchamamba a lamou.s writer, and .social worker was her 



206 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


father's sister Bandaru Atchamamba went to Bombay Congress where 
she attended to the people suffering from plague. She too died of 
plague. Her niece was named after her as Atchamamba. 

Atchamamba had her education at Madras. She participated 
in boycott of Simon Commission, boycott of foreign goods and a Salt 
Satyagraha in which she led the students and received lathi charges 
She opened a spot dispensary to aid the injured Satyagrahis, and did 
a lot of service. One of such persons who was treated by her was 
Kasa Subba Rao, Editor of the newspaper Swatantra. She was a 
member of Youth League. In 1935 she went to England for her further 
studies in medicine and had advanced training in m.atemity and 
childcare She became L.R.C.P. and L.I.M. from Edinborough and 
Glasgo Universities, and returned to India in 1936. From that time 
she worked for the uplift and welfare of women. She joined 
Communists in 1940 and worked in that party till 1948. During that 
time she met the communist leaders like Putchalapalli Sundarayya, 
Moturi Hanumantha Rao, Chandra Rajeswara Rao, Ravi Narayana 
Reddy and others. She was arrested in 1948 for her association widi 
the Communist Party and underground activities. After release in 1949 
she became free from party politics and continued her medical services. 
But again she was forced to contest in the elections in 1957 for Lok 
Sabha and was elected on Congress ticket. 

She was the secretary of All India Village Mahila Sangham 
to which Rajbansi Devi wife of Dr. Rajendra Prasad was tlie president. 
As a Member of Paliament she worked for the introduction of anti- 
dowry Bill. In this connection she arranged a big conference at 
Vijayawada, with Rajbansi Devi. She was elected as President of 
Medical Society, Vijayawada, as Representative of AIIMS, Member 
of Traffic Trust, and so on. 

Dr. Atchamamba worked for the Women's education. She 
started a Montessory School in Vijayawada, She wrote a book on 
maternity and child welfare. 

Dr. Atchamamba was a great doctor, social worker, writer and 
a political worker. She played her part as an ideal worker irrespective 
of her different party ideologies. She was a noble and kind hearted 
lady witlt many great qualities. She passed away on 20.10.1964 due 
to heart attack. 

Parakala Ahalya Devi 

Ahalya Devi,- bom m 1926, was tlie daughter of Achanta 
Narasimliam and wife of Parakala Pattabi Rama Rao. She was a 
resident of Vijayawada, She attended Dr. Atchamamba's political 
school in 1942. Earlier she participated in tlie anti-war activities. Later 
she attended Anti-Facist District Conference held at Veeravasaram. 


Quit India Movement 


207 


Bhimavaram taluk. She was one ot tlic organisers who trained tlie 
women in self-defence, first aid, ARP, prevention ot coniageous 
diseases etc. She had also piuticipated in the August Movement which 
demanded the release of national leaders and a national goveniment. 
She was a social worker who worked along with Goparaju Sitadevi 
in Mahila Sanghani at Kavitam Most of her activities were from 
Kavitam and die surrounding areas. She was a good writer and 
contributed many tirticles to different magazines and worked for 
libraries. She worked against tlie scarcity of necessary gcxids during 
the war time mid collected funds for the Bengal famine in 1944. She 
toured all over West Godavari district through Mahila Sanghas and 
propagated anti-war slogans, along with Chunduri Ratnamma, Parakala 
Suseela Devi and others. She attended all die State Maliila Sangha 
Conferences dial were held at Chiluvur, Angalorc and Kothagudem. 
Kondapally Kotiswaramma 

Kotiswaramma was a resident of Vijayawada. She was 
influenced by die ftimous social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam 
and caiTied on social work activities. Inspired by die national songs 
of the day she entered political movements. Later she became a 
Communist and attended the political schtxil and propagated die 
women's movements, more on economic independence of the women. 
Prajashakdii, Andhra Mtihila, VanitJivani, and Andhra Jyodii were 
some magazines to which she contributed articles. She iUong with 
two hundred women submitted a memorandam to the Collector against 
the ban order on All India Mahila Sangha Conference. During diis 
time police used tetir gas and she was arrested. 

Thus women during die Quit Imha Movement were more in 
underground activities thmi in open struggle with die British. 

nie All India Women's Conference in Andhra widi its mem- 
bership confined to upper middle class women Ruled to draw attention 
of the women at lower stratti. The AIWC' had refused Andhra Mahila 
Sangham affiliation on die ground of its C’omniuiiist leadensliip. But 
the Andhra Maliila .Sangham .started dieir own magazines and con- 
ferences to draw the attention of peasant women in which they could 
secure die membership of around forty five diousand women Thus 
the Andhra Maliila Sangham could mtihdise more women than die 
AIWC as diey fought against the exploitation and for die happine.ss 
of their families. Tins awakening reached every ntxik and comer and 
diere was an impressive re.sponse immediately from die working class 
women. Around two thousand women widi bahie.s in arms participated 
in the Jallnmwala Bagh Day dcmtinstrutions in 1940 at Guntur. 
Tliough mtuiy trainees could not widistand the vigorous nature of 
training still women ol A.P. widi.sitKxl lirmly. 


208 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


BIOGRAPHIES OF WOMEN PARTICIPANTS IN 
QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT- 1942 
EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT 
Samrajyam, Racharla 

She was bom on 26th April. 1919 at Rajalimundry. Her parents 
were Goparaju Venkateswara Rao and Rajyalakshmamma. She is tlie 
sister of Gora. She passed Hindi Rashtra Basha and Visarada. She 
underwent Hindustan Nai Talim Sangh Training in Basic Education 
at Sevagram. Wardha in 1946. She got married at an early age of 
twelve years, which her brotlier tried his level best to prevent. She 
became a widow at tlie age of eighteen years. It was her brotlier 
who encouraged her in all walks of life. She participated in the 
national movement. She participated in Quit India Movement along 
with Rajeswari. Sitaramamma, and Venkata Subbamma at Vijayawada. 
They were all arrested while singing national songs in a procession 
for defying law, on April 13. 1944. She was sentenced to six months 
RI. and ‘'C" Class was given at Rayavellore jail were she was lodged 
She led a very disciplined life in jail witli studies, spinning, knitting 
and other crafts. She met Eraeni Leelavathi. Emeni Amritamma. 
Radha Manoharam. Savitliri Ammal and others in jail. She served 
on the provincial Kasturba National Memorial Trust as Crafts and 
Hindi Teacher between 1946-50 and as Sanchalika and provincial 
organiser from 1950-65. as provincial Pratinidhi from 1965-75 and 
as Adviser from 1975. 

Duvvuru Subbamma 

Her biography has been covered in tlie earlier chapter on Non- 
cooperation Movement. 

She was latlii charged during the Quit India Movement in 1942 
while delivering a speech on education for women in the gardens ol 
Peddapuram. 

GUNTUR DISTRICT 

Annapurna Devi, Chitturi 

Annapurna Devi was bom on 30th December. 1927 to 
Kesavakurti Chittayya and Saraswathi Devi. She was inspired by her 
uncle Manikya Rao. She was married to Chitturi Laksliminturayiuia 
Sarma at the age of eight years and came to Tenali at the age of 
thirteen years. Her education and life started in Tenali. She joined 
the Satyagralia training classes which were led by Suryadevara 
Rajyalakshmi Devi She was highly inspired by Gandhiji and his 
principles. She saw him when he visited Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachtir 


Quit India Movement 


209 


Sabha at Madras, wlierc she was leariunii Hindi I'nder constructive 
programme she learnt Hindi, lollovvcd. sutrayaina i e. spinning regu- 
larly at a stretch lor sometime, wearing and propogtiting khaili, 
picketing foreign cloth, haiijan upliftment etc. At the age ol liftcen 
she along witli Kamala Devi and Santa Devi distributed anti- 
govemmeni pimiphlets. 

It was on 9tli .September 1942 that three women in white Khadi 
dress entered Tenali sub-court. Many women gatltered outside. The 
lawyers and clerks were closing the liles. The women who came 
in turned the ink bottles upside down when the police asked them 
to come out.They threw die pamphlets on their faces and came out 
People who gathered outsule startetl shouting slogans against tlie 
British whicii were levcrberating. nie Police arrested tliese women 
and rcmimded them to a sub-)iul aiui tried to convince them to go 
back. But tliey relu.sed. .So they were sentenced to one year RI with 
'C Class and lodged in Vellore )ail. She said that she really enjoyed 
the jail lile as she had very good company She met Kutti 
Ammalamma, Ammu .Swaminathiui, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya. 
Lak.shminarastimma CJupta, and Kamala Arya who were m 'A' C'lass. 
In 'C Class she met Hrneni Leelavathi, Ushadevi .Savithri Devi 
Pattipari, Sadhu Sitamma and others. She was very happy to .see many 
De.sasevika.s tliere. .She shared her room with Degala Venkata Riitnam 
of East Godavari and S. Amaravallii of Kurnool district. They useti 
to get books like Mahahharata Ironi the jail library and sixmd time 
in reading. They played games and .she was Ifiendly with everybtxiy 
including tlie jail wanlen. KverybtHly hketl her as site w'as aciive tuid 
youngest of all. 

She used to represent the women in the jail for their dsiily 
requirements like coconut oil etc. ( )nce an elderly lady was very much 
vexed with the jail life juid wa*- preptired to .say 'sorry' and get out 
of the jail. Annapurna Devi convincetl her, and chtunged her mind 
by .singing folk :md national .songs which in.spired the women .so much. 
She actually wept when .she wsis released from die jail as sfie had 
to leave (elderly lady) Annapurna Devi. Even die jail wturden who 
was a Malabtiri lady wept when Annapuniatlevi wa.s relea.scd from 
the jail. Everybody liked her as she was young, bold, active luid 
courageou.s. .She was hontiured widi a khatli .saree at the lime of her 
release by Ammu .Swaniinallum, Kutti AnimtUamnia, and Kamala Devi 
Chattopadhyaya. They gave her some fruits and said that diey would 
always remember her. .She enjoyed die aflection ol even die jail 
superintendant and used to call him grandpa. 



210 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


She with her pleasing manners conquered the hearts of everyone 
tha t she came across. She met Kadapa_ Ramasubbamma, Sitamma 
Gupta, N. Anasuya, Shakuntala, Dronamraju Lakshmibayamma, Ponaka 
Kanakamma, Amaravathi Nagappa, Ammu Swammathan, Madhav 
Menon and others, at a meeting and felt happy to see so many women 
freedom fighters on tlie dias. after her release from jail she settled 
as a housewife but continued khadi and other constructive work. Her 
children had the deep impact of the political life of their parents. They 
followed a disciplined life. 

Annapurnamma, Uppala 

Annapumamma participated in the Quit India Movement and 
courted fifteen months RI from September 9, 1942 and was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. 

Annapurnamma, Vadlamudi 

Annapumamma was a resident of Repalle. She was arrested 
and released on April 8, 1932 at Repalle and again she participated 
in the Quit India Movement of 1942, and was sentenced. 
Bhramaramba, Sukhavasi 

Bhramaramba also took part in the Quit India Movement, 
courted fifteen months R.I. from August 31, 1942 and was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. 

Durgamba, Velagapati 

Durgamba also suffered imprisonment for fifteen months from 
December 23, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore jail in connection 
with the Quit India Movement. 

Hymavathi, Suryadevara 

Hymavathi was a resident of Chebrolu, Tenali t a luk and she 
was the daughter of Patibandla Venkataramayya. She was the wife 
of Kotayya. She took part in the Quit India Movement and was 
arrested and fined Rs. 300/. The fine was cancelled on appeal. 
Kalyani, Uimava 

Kalyani -was a resident of Guntur and she took part in die Quit 
India Movement as a student and underwent three months R.I. from 
September 30, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore jail. 

Kamalamba, Kodali 

Kamalamba was the daughter of Gogineni Rama Kotayya, and 
the wife of Kutumba Rao. As a resident of Moparru, Tenali taluk, 
she took part first in Individual Satyagralia of 1940 but was not 
arrested. So again she participated in the Quit India Movement and 
suffered fifteen months RI from September 16. 1942 and was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. 


211 


Quit India Movement 


Kausalya Devi, Maduj>ula 

Kausalya Devi was born in 1917. Her father was Yelavartlii 
Venkatasubbayya. She was the wife of Madugula Venkatasubbayya. 
They were Uie lesulents of Mulpur in Tenali Uiluk She was innuenced 
by Gandhiji when he visited her place Encouraged by her friends, 
despite restrictions at home she came out to pjirticipate in tlie Nationid 
Movement. As a staunch follower <if Gandhpi she implemented die 
constructive progrtimmc. She w<»rkcd for the promotion of khadi along 
with wearing kliadi, she spinned reguhmly She participated in the 
Prabhat Pheris and processions. At tlie age <if sixteen she participated 
in the Quit India Movement, She was courted fifteen months RI from 
September 9, 1942 in the Vellore jail. She attended die politictii schtxil 
organised by Prof. Riuiga, .she was interested in working for the 
women's development. 

Lakshmikantam, Siddabattuni 

Hailing from Bhattipnilu in Repalle taluk, Laklismi Kanuun the 
daughter of Ranganayakamma parucipared in the Quit Indui Movement 
and suffered six montlis RI from September 23, 1942 in the Vellore 
jail. 

Mahalakshmamma, (ianapathi 

Mahakik-shrmunma was a resident of Veiapalem, Tenali taluk. 
She was the wife of Lakshminanisimhulu. As a student, she look 
part in the Quit India Movement ami was sentenced to three month.s' 
RI on October 2, 1942 and was confined in die Vellore jail. 
Manikyamha, Vavilala 

After Individual Saiyagraha she again ttxik pjirt in the Quit India 
Movement, She was honoured by die local people and taken in a 
procession to a meeting where she gave a speech on the anti-war 
Movement, She was arrested and convicted for one year RI from 
October 14, 1942 and was kxiged m the Vellore jail, along with her 
husband V. Narasimham. 

Manikyamba, Chukkapalli 

After the release from jail during the Individual Satyagraha 
Manikyamba uxik part in die Quit India Movement and suffered tliree 
months RI from September 30, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore 
jail, after being kept in the remand for twenty days in the sub-jail. 
Manikyamba, Kotipalli 

Manikyamba was bom on 13 th September, 1926. She was a 
resident of Duggirala, Tenali taluk. She was the daughter of 
Venkatappayya and wife of Ramayya. She quietly took part in die 
Quit India Movement and suffered three mondi.s RI from January 12, 
1942 and was Icxlged in the Vellore jail. 



212 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Nagamma, Vasireddi 

Nagamma was the wife of Veerayya, a resident of Chebrolu, 
Tenali taluk She participated in tlie Independence Day Celebrations 
in 1944 and was sentenced on June 28, 1944 to six montlis 

imprisonment. She was released on July 11. 1944 by tlie government 
from tlie Vellore jail 
Raghavamma, Gaddipati 

Raghavamma a resident of Kavuru. Repalle taluk was the 
daughter of Punnayya and wife of Venkataratnam. She underwent 
six months' RI from September 23, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore 
central jail for having participated in the Quit India Movement. Her 
husband also participated in the freedom movement right from 1930's. 
Raghavamma, Ravavarapu 

After participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement, 
Raghavamma again participated in the Quit India Movement and 
underwent fifteen months' RI from December 23, 1942 in the Vellore 
jail. 

Rajyalakshmi, Vasireddy 

Rajyalakshmi was a resident of Chebrolu, Tenali taluk. She 
was the daughter of Chava Ramanayudu and wife of Punnayya. She 
took part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. 

Rajyalakshmi, Suryadevara 

After participating m Civil Disobedience Movement, she again 
participated in the 1940 and 1942 Movements and suffered impris- 
onment. 

Rajyalakshmi Devi, Suryadevara 

Right from Salt Satyagraha of 1930 to Quit India Movement 
of 1942 she participated in different movements, and suffered impris- 
onment. She went round the districts to organise anti-government 
activities and for sending women as Satyagrahis to jail. She went 
underground and was arrested by the police in January 1945 and 
detained in the sub-jail and released after one week. She ran a political 
school for women which was inaugurated by Kala Venkatarao at 
Chebrolu. Ayyadevara Kaleswara Rao was its principal. Kamala Devi 
Chattopadhyaya, and S.K. Patil were some of the leaders who spoke 
on that occasion. 

Ramakotipunnamma, Munagapati 

After participating in Individual Satyagraha she again took part 
in the Quit India Movement and was sentenced on 2.10.1942 to three 
months RI with a fine of Rs. 150/- or in default furtlier one month 
and one week R.I. She refused to pay die fine aitd was incarcerated 
in the Vellore jail. 



Qua Iiuiia Movement 


in 


Indunnu»thi Devi 

Indumatln Devi was arrested while distributing pamphlets at 
Tanuku. 

Santakumari 

Saniakuman's original name was Srutimaia. She was a Punjabi 
and belonged to Amntsar. Her husband Pandit Madan Mohan 
Vidyasagar was an Arya Samajist In order to work for the promotion 
of Arya Samaj the couple came to Visakiiapainam m 1939, frbm there 
to Vijayawada imd tlien to Tenah and finally they settled in Hyderabad. 
Her father was Giuuichand. At die time of her participation in the 
Quit India Movement they were the residents of Tenah. She extended 
all her ctKiperalion to her husband in Aryasaniaj activities. Her house 
was the meeting place for many political leaders. The meetings used 
to take place in tiic name of Aryti Samaj. Htiving been influenced 
by this atmosphere, she was' encouraged by her husband to participate 
in the movement. She was one of the women m die b.'itch to participate 
in the movement. The other women along widi her were Kamala 
Mopaluru. Annapunia, Kutchipudi Uslm tuid others. While picketing 
at Tensdi court, she was jirrested luid .sentenced to one year RI from 
September 16, 1942 and wa.s lodged in die Vellore jail. She 
implemented the coastructive work. 

KRISHNA DISTRICT 
Amrutamma, Krneni 

After Civil Di.sohedience .she also took part in the Quit India 
Movement of 1942 and suffered IVj months R.I. Again under the 
DIR she was sentenced on February 5, 1943 to six months RI. She 
was interned in the Vellore jsiil. Finally she was sentenced on Augu.st 
21, 1943 to eighteen months’ RI and was kept in Vellore jail. Thus 
we find in one single movement i.e. Quit India Movement she 
underwent imprisonment diricc, 

Kasturi Devi, Masunuri 

Kasturi Devi was die dtiughlcr of the famou.s freedom fighters 
Emeni Subramanyium tind Leclavathi. She was bom on 18th April, 
1929 at Gudlavallur, Gudivtala taluk. She msirried M. Bhaskara Rao. 
Her entire family participated in die freedom struggle. This back- 
ground had a deep impact on her and .she Kxik pjirt at a very young 
age in Quit India Movement, which was the last movement in the 
freedom struggle. Her fadicr was the sole representative from Andlira 
in the historic Dandi March. Her grandimither at the age of eighty 
years went to jail. She suirted wearing and spinning khadi at the 



214 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


age of eight years. Along with her mother she went to jail. The 
whole family was involved in the constructive programme. 
Subramanyam started a Satyagraha Ashram at Komaravolu. All the 
members of his family including Kastun Devi underwent training in 
Wardha during Quit India Movement. When Gandhiji and otlier 
leaders were arrested she came back to Komaravolu. She then 
participated in the Quit India Movement along with her sister Radha 
and propagated the movement actively day and night. She was 
convicted under the DIR for trespassing into the office of the sub- 
divisional Magistrate Gudivada and asking the Magistrate to resign 
his job. She was sentenced to imprisonment till the opening of the 
court. Again she was arrested for shouting slogans against the British 
and remanded to police custody and released. In the midst of these 
activities she passed Hindi Rashtrabhasha in 1942. The whole family 
was arrested and kept in different jails. She was detained in Bandar 
and Gudivada sub jails for six months due to under age. After release 
she got married. She lost her sister Karuna who died at an young 
age, with a longing desire of seeing her mother who was in the jail, 
at that time. An orphanage Kasturi Kanina Nilayam was started in 
memory of her sister. She took Hindi classes at Vijayawada for 
sometime. She worked hard and collected donations and rice for Bi ha r 
drought relief. She was the president of Gudivada Town Congress 
in 1854. She was elected as Municipal Councillor in 1956. In 1959 
she was nominated as member of District Congress adhoc committee. 
She was a member of Pradesh Congress from 1960 to 1969. She 
was elected as Member of Legislative Assembly in 1967 from 
Gudivada and worked for the development of her constituency. At 
the time of her death on May 18, 1969, at the age of forty years, 
she was the member of a numerous organisations. She was the member 
of District Congress Executive Committee, Assembly house commit- 
tee, Privileges committee, Vemulavada Devastanam Trust Board, 
Andhra Pradesh Administrative Society, South Central Amenities 
Centre and so on. She participated in the Bhudan Movement along 
with Vinobaji. 

Lakshmi Kantamma, Kollipara 

After participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement she 
again took part in the 1942 Quit India Movement. 
Lakshminarasairima, Gonuguntla 

Lakshminarasamma was a participant of national struggle from 
Salt Satyagraha Movement. After the Individual Satyagraha, she again 
took part actively in the Quit India Movement She was arrested on 


(,)uu India Movement 


215 


August 13. 1942. and snttcred one ycar'.s RI from Scplcmber 1. 1942 
Icxlged in Velloie tail. 

Leelavathi, Krntni 

Alter paitieipatmg in the C'lvii Disobedience Movement .she 
again took part in Quit India Movement aiul sullered three months 
S.I. from November 3, 1942 ami was lodged m Velkire jail. Finally 
underwent tine yeais' impn.sonemnt trom February 19, 1944 to 

February 17. 1945 in Vellore jail. 

Manorama, (ioparaju 

Manorama born in 1928 was the daughter ol Gopsu-aju 
Ramachandra Rao — Gora. .She marned a harijan, Arjun Rao. She 
took piut in Uie Quit Iiulia Movincent at a young age luid sullered 
six months' R.l. Irom April 25. 1944 and was lodged in Vellore jiul. 
She worked as ti manager ol Harijan Girls Hostel at Gudivada. 
Radha Manoharam, Fatharaju 

Radha Manoharam belonged to the Erneni family Her father 
Emeni Suryanarayana was the brotlier of Erneni .Subnimanyam. She 
mamed Venkata Subhaiah. Along with her family member.s .she look 
paffln Quit India Movement and wjis arrested lour times. She .sullered 
six montli.s' R.I. from February 10, 194.3 and was Itidged in die Vellore 
jail. Again she was remanded twice in 1944 to die sub-jail till the 
rise of court. .She was convicted once again under the DIR and 
sentenced on February 19, 1944 to one year’s .S.I. tmd was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. She was very much interested in the propagation 
of Hindi and khadi. 

Raghavamma, Kanuri 

Raghavtimma wtis born in 1906. Her fadier wtis China Venkata 
Dasayya. She was a resident of KawUiaram, Gudivada uUuk. She 
took part in the Quit Iiulia Movement and suffered .six month.s' RI 
from 6.3.1943 and was lotlgedin Vellore jail. She rai.sed .slogans before 
the Magi.strate a.sking him to re.vign job under a foreign government. 
Rajeswari, Maddali 

Raje.swari was boni m 1926. Her fadier was Govindarajula 
Venkata Krishnayya. She was die wile of Venkata Gopala Krishnayya 
and the resident of Riunapuram. She pjulicipated in the Quit India 
Movement and sullered six months imprisonment from April 5, 1944 
in the Vellore jail along with her hu.sband. .She died on July 30, 
1967 due to T.B. at Maagalagm T.B. Sanitorium. 

Rangamma, Nadella 

Alter participating in Civil Disobedience Movement .she again 
ttxik ptut in die Quit India Movement and underwent six monUis’ R.I. 
from September 23, 1942 and wa.s lodged in Vellore jail. 


216 


Women ot Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


Ratnamma, Gollamudi 

As she was not arrested dunng die Individual Satyagraiia, she 
took part in tlie Quit India Movement. She was convicted under the 
DIR and sentenced on June 28. 1944 to six months imprisonment in 
Vellore jail. She took active part in promoting Harijan welfare and 
library movement. 

Satyavathamma, Panditaradhyula 

Satyavatamma was tlie daughter of Sriramulu and wife of 
Hanumantlia Rao. She was a resident of Repalle. She took part in 
tlie Quit India Movement and suffered six montlis' RI from September 
23, 1942 and was lodged in tlie Vellore jail. 

Seshamamba, Penumarthi 

Seshamamba was a resident of Potumarru in Tenali taluk. She 
was the daughter of Mantravedi Lakshmayya. She participated in the 
Quit India Movement and suffered sixteen months' R.I. from Septem- 
ber 10, 1942 and was lodgedin the Vellore jail. She was interested 
in propagating Hindi. 

Sitamma, Pattipati 

After participating in tlie Salt Satyagraiia Movement she again 
participated in Quit India Movement and courted six montlis R.I. from 
September 23, 1942 and was lodged in tlie Vellore jail. 
Sitaramamma, Devabhaktuni 

Sitaramamma, a resident of Chebrolu in Tenali taluk, was die 
daughter of Devabhaktuni Madhavayya. While studying in the local 
girls National School in 1944, she was arrested for observing 
Independence Day and fined Rs. 300/-. 

Soubhagyamma, Kaja 

After Civil Disobedience Movement. Soubhagyamma again 
took part in Quit India Movement and courted fifteen mondis' R.I. 
from December 23, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore jail, 
Saraswathi, Goparaju 

Saraswathi was bom in 1912 to Poduri Lakshmi Narasimlia Rao 
and Kondamma. She was die wife of Gora - Goparaju Ramachandra 
Rao. a famous athiest. But die whole family was influenced by 
Gandhiji. She was married at die age of eleven years. Khadi dresses 
were served during die marriage. Her husband believed in equal rights 
and responsibilities of men and women. The couple spent a long 
period in Srilanka where she gave up all her traditional beliefs and 
practices. She started believing in scientific reasoning. The couple 
stopped believing in sacred thread and odier traditions of Hinduism. 


Qtiit India Movement 


217 


They believed in oneness ol people They engaged a Muslim serviuit 
and stayed in a Muslim house when they were in Srilanka They 
often visited htiripin coUmy aiul dined with them They celebrated 
widow and intercaste marriages Tlie couple hati lull reverence lor 
Gandhiji, but diOered Irom him regarding views on atheism Bectiuse 
of the atliiest views he could not continue m his job as lecturer in 
Machilipatmmi. During their stay at Mtichilipatnam StiraswaUii Gora 
along with Dulla Venkatanimanamma, a social worker ol Banda was 
engaged in bringing awakening among die women. 

The whole family wtis involved in the freedom movement tind 
constructive work. Evcrybotly in the family wore Kliadi. Resisting 
untouchability, wetiring khadi, spinning and letiding a simple lile were 
the principles, which were lollowed by everybody in die lamily. The 
children tire mimed after each incident m the National Movement such 
as Lavjuiam who was born dunng Salt Salyagrtiha Movement. Mytri 
during tlie Gtmdhi Irwm Pact. Saimiram during the Individual Satyagraha 
and tlie II World War, and .so on. She sttiyetl in the A.shram ol Gandhiji 
for some time, where, her children bectime close to Gandhiji. Everyday 
while Manorama and Mytri were spinning Gantlhiji u.sed to sit with 
tliem and teach the skills. Gandhiji encouraged them to be self-reliant 
in doing any work or in carrying any load. Mtuioramti got tlirough 
his te.st when she nuirried a Haripui. After .seeing the discipline ol 
the.se children, Gandhiji came to a decision that cverybtKly in tlie 
country should be brought to the level of contentment, so tlntt they 
would not be greedy lor anything 

During the Quit India Movement Saraswallu Gora was die 
mother of .seven children and was carrying the eighth child. She came 
to Vijayawada with Manorama to participate along with Racharla 
Samrajyam, Sitamniju Siuu'amamma. Maddtili Rajeswari, Maddali 
Venkata Subbamnva and others. When these people were .speaking 
in a meeting about the Jaliimwalabagh massacre Uiey were arrested 
on 13th April, 1944, and .sentenced to four months R.I. and a fine 
of Rs. 2(K)/- or in dehiult lurther two monnuh's R.I. .She did not 
pay die fine but underwent six monUis impn.sonment tuid was lodged 
in Vellore jail along with her two year old .son. She id.so organised 
a centre tlirough which she sent .Satyagraliis to the movement. 

Saraswadii Goni worked for the women and dieir problems. 
She organised adult education .school, and tried to .show .solutions to 
the problem.s of die ilc.serted women. The atmo.sphcrc m the athiesi 
centre is fully dennKratic. She always fought for the rea.soning. She 
led about sixty women Satyagnihis in the Ryot SatyagnUia in 1954. 



218 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


She felt tliat the public gardens should grow 'not flowers' 'but 
vegetables' so tliat, people have their minimum needs lulfilled She 
along witli her family members, tried to pluck die flower plants in 
tlie public gardens in Hyderabad and were arrested. Gor.a was proud 
of her and used to call her not a better half i.e. Ardhangi but Ponangi. 
Sitaramamma, Sitaniraju 

Sitaramamma bom on 3rd March, 1920 at Ventrapragada in 
Gudivada taluk was tlie daughter of Mullapudi Venkateswara Rao. She 
was the wife of Subbarao and she was a resident of Vijayawada. She 
took part in Quit India Movement and was sentenced on 25.4.1944 
to four months’ R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default to undergo 
further two months' imprisonment. She did not pay tlie fine She was 
interned in tlie Vellore jail for six montiis. She was Uie joint-secretary 
of Krishna District Maliila Sangham 1945. She was a member of 
Vijayawada Municipal Council from 1947-55. She was a presiding 
Magistrate of Juvenile court from 1954-55. She was tlie vice-presdient 
of Krislina District Freedom Fighters’ Association since September 
1973. 

Srirajyam Sinha 

Srirajyam Sinha was bom in 1923 in Krishna district. Her 
father. Anne Anjaiah who was an ardent supporter of socialist trend 
in Indian National Congress. He had been to jail for over five years 
for different terms. Her husband Bejoy Kumtir Sinha has been in 
Andamans, for his association witli terrorist activities and sentenced 
to transportation for life in the Lahore conspiracy case of 1930. He 
was the right hand of martyr Bhagat Singh, the legendary national 
hero. Srirajyam graduated from Shantiniketan, during the lifetime of 
Rabindranath Tagore. She next stepped into politics in the freedom 
struggle period, and became a well-known figure as a writer, speaker 
and advocate of women’s cause. As a prominent journalist, she has 
written in many papers, edited her own progressive weekly Matmbhumi 
and regularly broadcast from All India Radio stations of Madras, 
Vijayawada and Hyderabad specialising in women’s problems. 

She was a prominent leader in tlie All India Women's Con- 
ference in forties. She was also tlie President of Andhra Pradesh State 
Branch of National Federation of Indian Women. She was in 
government service from 1956-1978 and held die following posts at 
different periods. Director of Information and Public Relations Andlira 
Pradesh State, (first women to hold such a po.st in India) Director 
of Women’s Welfare. Managing Director of Film Development Cor- 
poration ot Andhra Pradesh State. Deputy Secretary to the Shite 


Quit India Movement 


219 


Government, News Editor (English) All India Radio, Delhi, Editor 
(English) Publications Division, and Editoi iiuhan Inlormation (Gov- 
ernment oi India )ournaI). 

She was the author ol’ the lollowing biniks A story about Soviet 
Women; The New Women ol GDR, and Women and Children of 
Mongolia. 

Venkata Ratnamma, Idupuganti 

Venkata Ratnamma was the daughter of Venula 
Dasaratliaramayya and w-ife of Kodanda Ramayya She was a resident 
of Penaniakuru, Vi)ayawada ttiluk. She took part in the Quit India 
Movement and was puled for one month in 1943 She was the member 
of Working Committee ol Andhra Desa Grandhaiaya .Sangain She 
was a member ol the District Boartl and also a member of Andhra 
State Congress Assembly Itxeeutive Board She was the Vice- 
president of Andhra State Rtiitu vSangham. Executive Member ol 
Andhra Maha Jana Sttbha. Secretary of Krishmt District Mtihila Sangh. 
and President ol Peiuimakura Gramaptmehayat and worked for die 
development ol her village 
Venkata Suhhamma, Maddali 

Venkata .Subbamma was ti resident of Chodtivartun. Vijuyawadti 
taluk. Her father was Gounneni Venkatarainayya. She w'as the wife 
of Venkateswani Rao. She participated in tlie Quit India Movement. 
A fine of Rs. 2(K)/- was paid. She tdso sullcred four months' R.I 
from April 25, 1944 and was lodgetl in the Vellore jail. Her Inishtind 
also went to jail in this connection for font tunes, 

Venkata Narasamma, Koya 

Venkata Narasamma was bom on 2nd June, 1895. She was 
a re.sident of Konakanchi, Nandigama uiluk. Her father was Madala 
Parandhamudu. She was the wife of VenkaUinunayya. She ptmici- 
pated in the Quit India Movement. She wsis remanded to tlie sub- 
jail for filteen days. 

Zolinger Uppala 

After Individual Salytigralia, she again took part in the Quit 
India Movement tmd awartieti on November 2, 1942 two yeius R.I. 
and a fine of Rs. 750/- or in default further six monilis* R.I. She 
was interned in Vellore jail. 

Tulasamma, Kalluru 

Tulasanima was a rcstdenl ol Moparru, Tenali taluk. Her lather 
was Kodali Krishnayya. She wa.s Uic wife of Rangayya. She first 
participated in the Individual Satysigralia but was not arrested. So 



220 


Women ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


she again took part m the Quit India Movement iind suffered sixteen 
months' R.I irom September 10, 1942 and was lodged in the Vellore 
jail. She propogated kliadi. Her source of liveliliood was tlie 
commis.sion that she got out ol kliadi production and propagation She 
had not taken the freedom fighter pension. She believed firmly in 
tlie principles of Gandhiji and Vinoba She leamt Hindi and stayed 
in Wardha for sometime 
Usha Devi, Aramandal 

After Individual Satyagraha, she again took part in the Quit 
India Movement and was sentenced on September 9, 1942 to one year 
and three months' R.I. and was lodged in tlie Vellore jail She died 
in 1946. 

Venkayamma, Ravella 

After Salt Satyagralia and Individual Satyagralia, she again took 
part in the Quit India Movement and was convicted and sentenced 
on September 9. 1942 to fifteen montlis' R.I. and was lodged in the 
Vellore jail. She was again convicted on June 28, 1944 to Six months' 
R.I. in die Vellore jail. 

Akhilandeswari, Vasireddy 

As she was not arrested during tlie Individual Satyagralia 
Movement, she took part again in the Quit India Movement and 
suffered sixteen montlis R.I. from April 10, 1942 in die Vellore Jail. 
She was the recipient of Tamrapatra on August 15, 1972, from die 
Government of India on die occasion of die Silver Jubilee celebradons 
of Indian Independence. 

NELLORE DISTRICT 
Lakshmi Devi, Gaddatn 

Lakshmi Devi was a resident of Nellore. Her fadier was 
K. Subba Reddy. She took part in the Quit India Movement. She 
underwent one years' R.I. from February 15, 1943 and was lodged 
in the Vellore jail. 

Rama Tilakamma, Kaveti 

Rama Tilakamma was a resident of Venkatagiri. She took part 
in die Independence Day procession on January 26, 1943. 
Samrajyam P.D. 

Samrajyam was a resident of Kavali taluk. She took part in 
the pickedng of the toddy and foreign cloth shops at Kavali during 
the 1942 Quit India Movement. 

Sarojini, Chella 

Sarojini was a resident of Venkatagiri. She participated in the 
Independence Day procession on 26.1.1943. 



Quit liuha Movement 


22 1 


VISAKHAPATNAM DIS'I KICT 

Kameswaramma, Kodukula 

Kluiieswarammu hails (rom Anakapalli Her father wtis 
Suryanarayana. vShc underwent Uiree months’ R I irom Octobei 5. 
1942 and was kniged in the Vellore jail lor taking part in the Quit 
India Movement. Her latlier was idso an active Ireedom fighter. 
Lakshmi Nara.samma, SLstla 

Lakshminara.samnia was a resident ol Diniili, ElanKuichili taluk 
She is the wife of Purushottam who was also ;ui active freedom lighter. 
She was convicted under the DIF^ and .sentenced on October 5, 1942 
to tliree months' R.I. for taking part in the Quit India Movement 
Lingamma, Si.stla 

After Salt Salyagralia luid Individual Satyagraha .she also took 
part in the Quit India Movement. Once ttgain she underwent three 
months' R.I. from October 5, 1942 in the Vellore jail She died in 
1949. 

Mahalakshmamma, KalandhabhatIa 

After Salt Satyagniliu Movement tmd Individual .Satyagraha. she 
once again ttx>k part in the Quit India Movement and underwent three 
monUis' R.I. from October 5, 1942 and was lotlged m the Vellore jail. 
She died in February 1967 at tlie age of seventy six. 

Syama Sundaramma, Sistla 

Syama.sundtu-amma was born in July 1922 tit Boddan, 
Cheepurupalli Uiluk, .Srikakulam District. .She is the wife of Ramadas 
and a re.sidcnt of Dimili, Ehuntinchili taluk. .She studied upto fourtli 
class. .She underwent seven month’s R.I. Irom December 11, 1942 
and was lodged in the Vellore jail for her involvement in Uie Quit 
India Movement. 

WEST GODAVARAI DISTRICT 
Gogulamma, Peram 

Gogulamma was a native of West Godavari District, and was 
the wife of Ki.shlamma. She participated in the Quit India Movement 
and was convicted on October 8, 1942 lor lour months' imprisonment. 

Naga.sir(>mani, (Jaddey 

Nagasironuuii was born in 192.^. Her father was Mandalapu 
Virabhadrayya. .She was the wife t)f Vishnumurtln. .She was the 
resident of Dhiumajigudeni, C’hiniapudi uUuk. .She ltx>k ptirt in tlie 
Quit India Movement. .She was a member of Taluk tuid District 
Congre.ss Committees. Her husband was also lui active freedom lighter 



222 Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 

who participated m Salt Satyagralia Movement and Quit India 
Movement. 

Subhadra Devi, Vegesina 

Subhadra Devi hails from Bhimavaram. Her fatlier was Vegesina 
Pedda Subba Raju. She got herself trained at the. Andhra Provincial 
Congress Sevadal training camp at Palasa. She demanded tlie 
Magistrate of Bhimavaram to resign during tlie Quit India Movement 
She was sentenced on February 27, 1943 to two years' R.I. On an 
appeal the sentence was reduced to three roontlis' R.I. while in Vellore 
jail. Her father was also an active freedom fighter from whom she 
drew inspiration. 

Venkataratnamma, Degala 

Venkataratnamma was bom in 1920 at Attili, Tanuku taluk Her 
father was Bendi Veeraswamy. She was the wife of Suryanarayana. 
She was the resident of Penugonda, Tanuku taluk She took part in 
the Quit India Movement and underwent six months' S.I. from February 
1, 1943 and was lodged in the Vellore jail. She was interested in 
the Mahila Mandali organisations. Her husband was an active freedom 
fighter who participated in Individual Satyagralia and Quit India 
Movement. 

Venkamma, Gokaraju 

After participating in the Individual Satyagralia she again took 
part in the Quit India Movement. She alongwitli Subliadra Devi and 
others asked the Magistrate at Bhimavaram to resign his job. She 
was convicted under the DIR sentenced on February 27, 1943 to two 
years R.I. but on appeal the sentence was reduced to three months' 
R.I. while in the Vellore jaU. Her husband also took a leading part 
in the Quit India Movement. 

RAYALASEEMA 
ANANTAPUR DISTRICT 
Venkamma, R- 

Venkamma was a resident of Bellary, she suffered six months 
R.I. from 28.1.1943 in Vellore jail for her participation in the Quit 
India Movement. 

CHITTOOR DISTRICT 
Anasuyadevi, (Tamballapalli) Nallapareddi 

Anasuyadevi was bom in 1924 at Nellore She was a resident 
of Tamballapalli, Madanapalli taluk. Her father was Tikkavarapu 
Ramireddy and her husband was Raghunadha Reddy. In 1943. while 
a student of tlie 'Queen Mary's College.' she organised the students 


Quit Iiuiia Movement 


223 


in Madras to picket tlie goveniment oltices. Slie sultered three monUis' 
imprisonment trom Febniary 20. 1943 to May 19, 1943 and wa.s lodged 
in tlie Velkire |ail I'or picketing Uie Egmore Magistrates Court at 
Madras. She was a nicmhei ol PC'C and AK'C' and a member t)l 
Sri Venkalesw'ara University Syndicate lor tlnrteen years since 1960, 
and tilso a membei ol State Social Wellare Board tmd die Red cross. 
She was elected tti die Andhra Pracle.sh Legislative Assembly in 1967 
and 1972. She published a Telugu poetictii work Syamti Pann. She 
was a member of Andhra Pratlesh officnil kmgutige Commission, from 
March 1974 to March 15lh 1976. She wtis appointed as Chturman 
of Official Language Commission from July 7Ui 1977. Her husband 
was also a famous revolutioiniry freedom fighter. 

Shakuntala, (Tamballapalli) Nuliapareddy 

Shakunlala was horn m 1927. She was a sister ol Anasuyadevi. 
Her father was Tikkavaiapu Fiann Reddy She was the wile of Krishna 
Reddy, tind resident of Ttmihallapalli, Maiianapalli taluk. While 
studying in Queen Mtiry's College, Matlrtis in 1943, she juid her sister 
organi.sed the students' movements in till the colleges in Madras. So 
she was tilso .sentenced on 20.2.1943 to six months' S.l. for picketing 
die Egmore Mtigistrates' Court tit Madras and suflereil the imprison- 
ment in die Vellore jail. Her husbtmd also ptuticipated in organising 
students and picketing the government olfices but escciped arrest. 

CUDDAPAH DISTRICT 

Nara.samina, Hardagiri 

Nara.stimma was :t resident of Rayachoti She was die wife 
of H.N. Siniham. She particiapted in Individual Satyagraha ;«id agtiin 
ttxik ptirl in the subversive aclivitie.s during the 1942 Quit India 
Movement. She wtis arrested at Cuniakal tuid was mis.sing since dien. 
Her husband was also an active I'reedom lighter whose knee was 
broken when he was hidii charged. He was im active person in 
Congress. 

KURNOQL DIS IRICT 

Annaravatamma., Sirdar 

Aniaravauunma was a resident of Kotakuniool, Her ladier was 
Yenumula Anktuina. She wtis die wife of Nagappa and who was tfli 
active Ireedom tighter sind M.L.A. She took part in the Individutd 
Satyagralia. tuid again participated m the Quit India Movement. She 
was iurested on October 26. 1942 She was .sentenced on November 
5, 1942 to one year's .S.l. juid was lodged m die Vellore jtul. 



224 


Women ot Andhra in tlie Freedom Struggle 


Boyamma, Peram 

Boyamma was a resident of Dhone Her motlier was 
Bhagyamma She was associated with Quit India Movement and was 
convicted under the DIR. She underwent nine montlis' R.I. from 
September 22, 1942 in tlie Vellore jail. 

Ramakka, Ballekallu 

Ramakka was a resident of Adoni. She took part in die 
picketing of the Police Station on 14.9.1942 at tlie age of seventy 
five during the Quit India Movement, and was lathi charged. 

Indian National Army 

The Second World War inspired persons like captain Mohan 
Singh and others who started preparations to win India's freedom as 
well through war. This gave rise to Indian Indepedence League which 
was formed on 16th January 1942. Ever since its formation Indian 
women had been extending their co-operation, through medical and 
financial aid. It was in March 1943 women's section of tlie Indian 
Independence Leauge was inaugurated. Dr. Lakshmiswaminatlian was 
made its secretary at Singapore which was tlie headquarters. Witli 
the’' entry of Subhas Chandra Bose on to the arena women too began 
to develop revolutionary spirit along with men. His appeal to women 
of India to share the burden of freedom struggle, roused the inspiration 
of a section of Indian women. As a result a women's regiment known 
as "Rani Jhansi Regiment" was started. 

The women's regiment was keen on active service in the battle 
field. So a representation was sent to Netaji. "It is you, who taught 
us that there is no distinction between men and women. It is you 
who gave us training fit for men folk, have inspired us with courage 
and moral stamina required for actual warfare. We have received 
complete training. In these circumstances why should we not be sent 
to the batdefront without delay?" 

Before they could take any part, the women's regiment was 
disbanded as the Indian National Army itself was retreating. 

Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal 

Dr. Lakshmi Swaminatlian, daughter of Ammu Swaminathan, 
a popular freedom fighter from Madras province became the com- 
mander of the Rani Jhansi Regiment and also the Minister of Social 
Welfare and Medicine in the Azad Hind cabinet. She was a Lt. Colonel 
of tlie Regiment. When tlie Indian National Army collapsed, she did 
not surrender to tlie British Government. But she was caught and 
arrested and sent to Rangoon Jail. She was released due to public 


Quit India Movement 


225 


agitation The government insisted her not to make imy public speech 
Dr. Lakshmi defied tins order and spoke on tlie Azad Hind Fauj on 
the anniversary day i.e. 21st October, 1945. She also organised a 
meeting in protest against die trial ol Indian National Army. Despite 
the ivaming notices served by die government she continued her 
activities and ultimately she was arrested and released after one year 
She then came to India and married captain Sehgai of die Azad Hind 
Fauj. Though a Keralite and her activities were confined to outside 
India and outside Andhra, she deserves to be mentioned as tlie daughter 
of the freedom fighters of Madras province. No doubt there were 
no Andhra women in the Rani Jhansi Regiment; yet the revolutionary 
spirit of women of India inspitc of sociid stratifications deserves a 
mention. 

Comment 

Tlie above two movements stand a testimony to women's 
participation. Yet surprisingly in the senes of negotiations that 
followed Quit India Movement ncidier vyomcn of Andhra nor India 
could participate directly. Finally when die Constituent Assembly was 
formed, we once again notice women's involvement. Even Andlira 
had its share, Durgabai whti became die member not only actively 
participated but constructively contributed to tlie proceedings of our 
Consdtutioii. Tlius the participation of women in the National 
Movement and the contribution t)f Andlira women to it deserves specml 
mention. 

In this final stage of national struggle we find inmien.se 
sacrifices of women. Ayyadevara Balatripura Sundaramma resigned 
her job in accordance with the call of Malialma and joined die struggle. 
A l^ge host of women braved the bullets mid laUiis and courageously 
defied the prohibitory orders of the goveniment and were arrested and 
imprisoned for terms varying in each case. 

The women mostly from Guntur, Krishna and botli the Godavari 
districts played an incomparable role in die 1942 Quit India Movement. 
Women from Chebrolu, Tenali, Repalle, Gudivada and Gannavaram 
were the places, where diey actively played their role in diis movement. 

The Quit India Movement was a .spontaneous movement. Tlie 
people participated even widiout a leader. Tlie people diat pmticipated 
belonged to almost all districts and ail csitegories. It specially attracted 
the youth, very much who responded emotionally. It was the students 
who led tlie strikes more in 1942 than in tlie earlier movements. But 
women of all ages ranging from the seventeen year old Chittun 
Annapurna Devi, the bud in the movement, to sixty two year old 
stalwart Duvvuru Subbamnia had been participating in all the move- 



226 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


ments right from Non-cooperation Movement of 1920. The move- 
ments affected the rural areas as well. In several places people declared 
themselves free, courts and offices were seized, and police stahons 
were occupied. Flags were hoisted on secretarial buildings, courts 
and other government offices. The government machinery was almost 
paralysed in several districts. The women faced the counter measures 
of the government and its special whipping ordinances. These 
ordinances legalised certain forms of plunder, loot, flogging and even 
killing of political offenders. Searches werer made and properties were 
confiscated. Congress offices and its funds became the property of 
the government. India had become a "big prison". The women also 
organised political prisoner's Relief Fund and collected funds for tlie 
purpose. Some of the women went underground and directed the 
movement from there. 

But we find more or less the same number of women as in 
Individual Satyagraha in Andhra. At national level many women 
became popular. In Daily Tribune Yusuf Mehrally wrote that "nre 
heroine of 1857 was the Rani of Jhansi, that of the 1942 revolution 
is undoubtedly Aruna Asaf Ali". In our state there were comparatively 
less number of woman participants in Quit India Movement. The 
reason for this was the nature of the movement. Though it was said 
that it should be non-violent it took a violent turn. 

The violence that was involved in this movement failed to 
attract women of Andhra, mostly as they already got used to non- 
violent type of struggle in 1930-33 and even in 1940. Salt Satyagraha 
was a mass movement and it was an open movement. It was a sort 
of movement with various fronts, mostly like bonfires picketing foreign 
goods and liquor shops etc., where everybody could participate and 
hence women were encouraged to participate and joined in making 
salt. Naturally the response was immense. 

But in Quit India Movement there was no direction at all, as 
aU the leaders were arrested. Though there was an internal self 
organised direction established by the principle, everyone was left to 
himself to do what he liked and sd each one did something whatever 
may be the means - that the rule of law is broken even if it is violent. 
But one fact should be noticed here. There was no individual violence 
or massacre. It was a mass violence - communications were cut, 
attempts were madeto destroy the bridges, to destroy court records, 
symbols of British establishments and so on. Women could not take 
up this sort of work but they did not keep silent. They were used 
for communication purposes. Some of the women attracted to socialist 
group, took leftist direction. Women like Aruna Asaf Ali remained 


Quit India Movement 


227 


underground and carried on their activities. She was given a secret 
shelter, when she visited Hyderabad by the women ot Andhra. 

The slogan ’'Do or Die” has its own interpretation. Simihirly 
the Kuniooi Circular and Kala Venkalnio's Circular involved violence 
in their activities. All tlie youngsters took emotional role like hiding 
people, using bombs to destroy government buildings and bridges, 
distributing pamphlets, and demanding the officials to resign their jobs 
- all these activities led to a sort of revolutionary movement. The 
student organisations like National Students Organisation and All India 
Students Federation had orgamised spontaneous strikes for a few weeks. 
During these strikes everywhere in Andhra we Ond tlie women 
participation to be less. Nowhere, except in Madras, do we find girl 
students on tlie scene directly as tlicy co-operated wiUi boy students 
by vacating the hostels and boycotting classes. 

From the side of the government we find more detentions tlian 
convictions. As in tliirdes the womens' section was apparently less 
on the surface but their support was an undercurrent. 

From a psychological point of view also we Ond that with 
Gandhian influence women were reluctant to violence. The repression 
of the Government iilso resulted m serious violence like firing 
frequently along witli latlii charge, tear gas, beating mid dishonouring 
the lady volunteers. Probably, this was one of the reasons for tlie 
women to remain in tlie background. 

The Quit India Movement was followed by a scries of 
negotiations. This situation might have relieved the women from 
tension, who waited patiently and silently for a suiuible compromise. 

As it attracted the students more, tlie scope for the women’s 
participation in general became less. Most of them were illiterate, 
ill-trained and ill-prepared. 

Secondly, there was split in the Congress. The leftists followed 
their own path and the Communists formed a strong section to which 
most of the youth were attracted. 


O GANDHIAN ASHRAMS 
WOMEN ORGANISATIONS 


The powerful Gandhian spell soon made many of his staunch 
followers to start in Andhra with great zeal and enthusiasm a number 
of Gandhian Satyagraha Ashrams on the lines of Sabannati Ashram. 
The avowed object of these Ashrams was that its members should 
qualify themselves for and make a constant endeavour towards the 
service of the country that was not inconsistent with tlie universal 
welfare. These ashrams were guided by the axiom of simplicity and 
aimed at economic and social reformation for the moral upliftment 
of the masses. The ashramites had to adhere to truth, non-violence, 
brahmacharya, swadesi and work for women's upliftment, removal of 
untouchability etc. Equality of man and woman was observed in these 
Ashrams. These Ashrams had played a great role in awakening the 
national consciousness among the people all around. Tie rights and 
responsibilities were shared by the women of the Ashram not only 
in propagating Gandhian principles, but also in running the Ashram 
in the absence of men during the national movement. They too 
participated in all the movements along with men. Interestingly we 
find that women were also equally associated with most of the Ashrams 
and such other organisations. 

Some of the Satyagraha Ashrams were Pinakini Pallepadu 
Ashram, Anand Niketan Harijan Ashram, Gautami Ashram, 
Vinayashram, Gandhi Swaraj Ashram, Hindupur Sevashram, MandavaJli 
Gandhi Sevashram, Peddapalem Sri Kjrishnashram, Gunadala Grama 
Swaraj ya Peetham etc. 

I. PINAKINI SATYAGRAHA ASHRAM - 1921 

Digumarthi Butchi Krishnamma a staunch Gandhian and her 
husband Digumarthi Hanumantha Rao have started this Satyagraha 
Ashram at Pallepadu on 7-2-1921, on the banks of River Pennar in 
Nellore district. Mahatma Gandhi had blessed it by his presence. He 
inaugurated the spinning activitiy with his participation along with 
Achanta Narayan Rao and his brother Lakshmi Narasimham. The 
Ashram was developed as Khadi outlet until it was handed over to 
Charkha Sangha. 

Removal of untouchability, adult education, nature cure, and 
simple living with non-violence were the major objectives that spinned 
the activities of the Ashram under the guidance and leadership of 



Gandhian Ashrams & Wtimen Organisations 


229 


Butchi Krishnamma and Hanumantha Rao. A number of harijan 
students were brouglil up by tins Asliram The Ashram was self-reliant 
until tlie death of Hanumantlia Rao in 1926. The Ashram could support 
about twenty to twenty five families by giving tlicm employment in 
promoting khadi, adult education, hiiripm uphftmcnt and cultivatit>n. 
After Hanumantlia Rao the Ashrsun was continued on Uie instructions 
of Gandhiji by Kondti Venkatappayya and later by, Oruganti Venkata 
Subbayya. Eventhough Butchi Kri.shnamma was the life trustee of 
the Ashram she could not carry it alone. Hence .she left it for scunetime. 

In 1951, she rejoined the Ashram as an agent of Kasturba 
Gandhi Memorial Trust and cturied on tlie organisation^^ of Ashram 
for women and child welfare widi balwadi and adult education as its 
activities working tlirough a Trust Board. Tlie Ashramites were true 
Gandhians. Once the Ashram was robbed and tlie dacoits were caught 
but the ashramities including Butchi Krishnamma refused to recognise 
their jewels and other articles. Tlie dacoits realised their mistake and 
returned all the botty. The Ashram could fulfill die ideals of Gandhiji 
to a maximum extent by spreading his ideals among tlie masses. 

n. ANAND NIKETAN HARIJAN ASHRAM - 1923 

This Ashram wa.s started first at Rajahmundry and later shifted 
to Chagallu. The founders of this Ashram were Tallapragada 
Narasimha Sarma, his wife Viswasundaramma and his cousin 
Tallapragada Prakasa Rayadu who shouldered the responsibility of the 
Ashram. The Ashram was aimed at Harijan upliftment, a chief ideal 
of the Gandhian programme and was run on the lines of JJabarmathi 
Ashram. As true Gandhians tlie Tallapragada family started the ashram 
with Chigurupati Bhimayya a harijan boy and soon there were ten 
to twelve harijan boys who joined the Ashram. The Ashram received 
contributions and donations from several philanthropists. Notable 
among them being Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu. He gave 
a building to the Ashram. The Ashram gave training to the boys 
in weaving, khadi production, oil production, shoe making, and 
gardemng of vegetables, fruits and flowers. As all Uie families were 
associated with the ashram, naturally the involvement of women and 
girls was also obvious in the Ashram activities. 

The women of the Ashram played a remarkable role in running 
it. The mothers of Tallapragada brothers Rajamma, and Yasodamma 
who were above seventy years, had completely abandoned untouch- 
ability and worked in the Ashram for Harijan uplift. Venkamma wife 
of Tallapragada Prakasa Rayadu and Tallapragada Viswasundaramma 
were the other two women to carry on the ashram activities, and khadi 



230 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


hawking in near by villages. Viswasundaramma was a great writer. 
She inspired the satyagrahis with her patriotic songs and she herself 
participated in the Gandhian movements and went to jail. She changed 
the names of the harijan boys such as Ganganna to Vishnu, Chintanna 
to Chittaranjan, Chinnayya to Mohandas and so on. These harijan 
boys who were brought up by these great people attained high status 
in their life later on. 

Gandhiji who visited this Ashram in 1929 was very much 
impressed with the activities of the Ashram. 

ni. GAUTAMI SATYAGRAHA ASHRAM - 1924 

On the banks of River Godavari at Sitanagaram, Gautami 
Ashram was started on the lines of Sabannathi Ashram on 9-11-1924, 
by Dr. Brahmojyosyula Subramanyam, on the request of Seth Jivanlal 
a popular aluminium trader, and a true Gandhian. He expressed to 
Dr. Subrahmanyam .his desire to give some portion of his income for 
national activities specially to run a Satyagraha Ashram. This doctor, 
having flourishing practice in Rajahmundry at that time, readily agreed 
to leave the practice and run the Ashram. Sitanagaram near 
Rajahmundry was selected as the spot for the Ashram. People around 
who were already aware of the political situation and Gandhian 
movement, readily cooperated in the establishment of the Ashram. 

The Ashram had both buildings and thatched huts. It received 
cooperation and liberal donations from the people. A well was dug 
with the contribution of Palleti Satyanarayana's sister. 

The most important activity of the Ashram was khadi produc- 
tion, spinning and weaving Under the supervision of Bharanipragada 
Seshagiri Rao khadi production was developed very well. He 
encouraged the spinners and weavers in the art of fine weaving and 
new methods of coloured and silk borders were adopted. Two branches 
of khadi were opened at Nagulapalli and Ramanakkapeta of Pithapur 
taluk. Mahatma Gandhi after his visit to the Ashram on 10th May 
1929 wrote thus in Young India of May 16, 1929: "the Ashram 
founded by Dr. B. Subramanyam occupied ten acres of land. Khadi 
is its central activity. The other activities are free medical aid, Hindi 
Prachar, library and the publication of Telugu journal Congress, and 
service to the depressed classes. There are one hundred and ninety 
professional spinners whose average income is Rs. 15/- per month. 
Alongwith khadi . production, khadi hawking is organised by the 
Ashramites especially by the women. Among them Lakshmi 
Narasamma, the old mother of Dr. B. Subramanyam was the most 
active lady. Despite her age she worked tirelessly and was the source 


Gandhian Ashrams & Women Organisations 


231 


of inspiration to everybody in the Ashram. The khadi cloth was 
available at half rate to the Harijans." 

The Ashram became training centre for die young men and 
women to participate in die freedom struggle. The Sitanagaram 
Ashram had fully implimented die constructive programme, such as 
khadi production, Htinjan upliftment. Widiin a short time the khadi 
of Sitanagaram earned a good name luid there was a great demand 
for this from die higher officials for their suits. 

During the Civil Disobedience Movement and Salt Satyagraha 
the inmates of the Ashram participated in large number in the 
movements. The women of die Ashram along with men, were not 
only engaged in the Ashiam activiues, but went to Kakinada and other 
places and participated m die movements. 

Lakshminara.samma, mother of Dr. Subramanyam, and 
Rajyalak.shmi, wife of I>r. Subramanyam, took aedve part in not only 
running the Ashram but alst) in the Satyagraha movements, on behalf 
of the Ashram. When many of the Ashramites were arrested, their 
families were looked after by the Ashram. To cite one example, the 
fanHiies of Krowidi Lmgaraju and Madduri Annapumayya were 
looked after by the Ashram when they were imprisoned for more than 
two years. In the words of K. Lingaraju "the Sitanagaram Ashram 
has groomed many staunch fighters for the freedom of the country. 
The hardships faced by the Ashramites bear good testimony of their 
will power." 

The British destroyed the Ashram in 1933 and the death of 
Dr. Subramanyam prevented the growth of the ashram further. In 
1946, Durgabai, Vidya Devi Omprakash, Butchikrishnamma and 
Racharla Samrajyam became the repre.sentatives of the trust and carried 
on the trust activities. The main purpose of the trust was the upliftment 
of the downtrodden women in the villages and give them training to 
stand on their legs. Balwadi, Service Home, Grama Sevika Training, 
Anganwadi and many other activities are being caireid on now. This 
Ashram thus worked for awiikening national consciousness among the 
people and supporting them economically through various activities. 

VINAYASHRAM - 1933 

This was founded by Swami Sitaram and Tummala Basavayya 
and his wife Tummala Durgamba at Kalyana Kavuru in Guntur district. 
This couple had donated their entire property for the Ashram and they 
joined the Ashram in the service of the people. They both participated 
in the Satyagraha movements. Eradication of untouchability was the 
main aim of the Ashram. This Ashram received donations by several 


232 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


philanthropists and major share was given by Kuppuswami Choudhary 
who had donated fifteen acres of land to the Ashram. This Ashram 
was inaugurated by Gandhiji on 25-12-1933, during his harijan tour. 
The Ashram functioned with deep commitment to the Gandhian 
principles like women upliftment, kliadi production, basic education 
and Hindi prachar. The Ashram activities like agriculture, cattle 
rearing, cottage industries etc., supported a number of people economi- 
cally. 

GANDHI SWARAJ ASHRAM 

At Polavaram Pusuluri Kodanda Ramayya and A. Venkata 
Ramayya started an Ashram for tribal children in the agency area. 
This Ashram was visited by Gandhiji. 

A host of other Ashrams were also established keeping the 
Gandhian ideals and constructive programme in view. Gandhiji always 
prefered economic freedom to political freedom. These Ashrams 
supported a vast number of people economically and they naturally 
reacted to the national uprise in the country gradually. The British 
government became helpless in tackling the ashramites. So, they 
resorted to violence and destruction of the Ashrams. 

These Ashrams observed a systematic way of life as amply 
depicted by the daily routine starting with prayer followed by sanitary 
service, spinning, attending other activities, ending with bedtime 
prayer. This disciplined life was continued even after they left the 
Ashram. The women behind these Ashrams exhibited their skill in 
running the Ashram. It was these women, who fully cooperated in 
successfully implimenting the constructive work of Gandhiji in their 
respective Ashrams. Gandhiji's visit to all these Ashrams, and the 
activities of the Ashram could rouse patriotism and national feeling 
not only in the inmates of the Ashram but in the pieople of the 
surrounding areas. 

The women of these Ashrams with their sincerity and deep 
commitment to the Gandhian principles attracted a large number of 
women who responded by participating in the national movement. 
These Ashrams brought up women Satyagrahis like Brahmojyosula 
Lakshminarasamma, women writers like Tallapragada 
Viswasundaramma, and ideal workers like Tummala Durgamba, 
Butchikrishnamma. Rajyalakshmamma, and others. These AshramS 
inspired many people to donate generously to the Ashram. This reveals 
their adherence to Gandhian ideals. These Aslirams were quite often 
visited by nauonal leaders who inspired the inmates witli national 
feelings. 



Gandliian Ashrams & Women Organisations 


2^3 


Thus women during Gandhian era tried to eontribule their mite 
eitlier tlirough their participation m open vSatyagraha movements or 
by organising institutions which impressed Gandhip 

Women Organisations 

Some organisations were started by (he elite Indiim women to 
inculcate and propagate national consciousness lunting women. The.se 
organisations in tlie beginning did not rouse luiy patriotism yet brought 
an awakening among die women These awakened women in turn 
propagated dieir feelings dirough diese organisatuins which aimed at 
the emancipation of women tuid were gradually ailraeted to Gjmdhian 
ideals in which cmtmcipation ol women was also one ol die 
programmes. In order to attract die attention of Gandhi] i. the.se women 
organisations gave prionty to the construedve programme of Gandhiji 
such as Hindi Prachar, Harijan uplift, uplift of downtrodden women 
etc. Thus, various organisations at the natiomU. State, and local levels 
catering to the needs of the women started functioning. 

Womens Indian Association which was started in 1917 had 
brought to light several problems of the women. By 1930 it had eighty 
seven branches. In Andhra also it had many branches in different 
places. Women of Andhra played an imptirtant role in the.se 
organisations. Adurti Bhasktiramma was one ol die organising 
members of diis Association which met at Pune in January 1929. 
Three women from Andlira represented in this. Later tliis became 
All India Womens' Conference winch mol at Lahore in December 1929 
and was attended by Aclianta Ruknimamma. She not only attended 
this national contcrence but also attended inteniational conferences tit 
Paris and Srilanka. 

Andhra Rashtra Mahila Maha Sabhas 

At the Slate level, diis conference took place in 1929 and 
Turlapad Rajeswarsuiima was the president of the Reception Commit- 
tee and the conference was presided over by Dr. MuthuUikshmi Reddy. 
About twelve resolutions were passed. The conference ptiid tributes 
to Maganti Annapuniadcvi. A resolution on the right to property to 
girls was proposed by Sattiraju Syamalamba and supported by Ytimini 
Pumatilakam tuid Battula Ktimakshtimnia. Darsi Annapunituiima (wife 
of Darsi Chenchayya) and Pomika Ktuiakamnia introduced die reso- 
lution to abolish Devadasi system and also to request die govcnimeiu 
to introduce prohibition (anti-liquor). 

The next conlercnce took place in Ma.sulipatnam in 1930. 
Anodier conference was held at Guntur which was attended by sixty 
women. There was only one representative trom Rayalaseema. The 



234 Women ot Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 

conference was presided over by Adipudi Vasundhara Devi and Dr 
Danamma was the president of the Reception Committee 
Koteswaramma. Vavikolan Padmasanamma, Sadhuvamma, Kalyanibai 
and Rayasam Rattamma were organising members This conterence 
discussed many general as well as women's problems. 

The sixtli conference was held at Rajalimundry in under tlie 
leadership Achanta Lakshmi Devi. Tlie conference discussed such 
issues as social evils, untouchability. women's education, purdali 
system etc. 

The seventh conference was held at Eluru under 
Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy who emphasised tlie importance of social 
reforms along witli liberation of the country. Chunduri Ratnamma 
who was the chairman of the reception committee insisted on 
monogamy. Kadapa Rama Subbamma was the chairman of' tlie 
Cuddapah conference and Begum Amiruddin was its president. It was 
attended by about two hundred women. Ammanna Raja (M.L.A.). 
Kalagara Pitchamma and Vemuganti Papayamma were some of tlie 
women from Andhra. They demanded the government to abolish die 
Devadasi system and polygamy. They also discussed anti-dowry, 
inheritance rights to women and other issues. Rani of Bobbili, Rani 
of Vizayanagaram, Rani of Challapalli. and Rani of Venkatagiri 
Samstanams. Peddada Kameswaramma, Bharatlii Devi Ranga. and 
Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy sent greetings and messages. 

Although some institutions were already found for widow 
marriages by Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu, still there were a 
number of widows who remained unmarried due to societal fear, and 
hence became burden to themselves and to their parents. As a result 
widow homes came into existence along with orphanages open to all 
unfortunate women irrespective of caste, community or creed. Tlie 
only aim of such institutions was to impart some vocational training 
and education along witli shelter so that they can attain self-reliance. 
The founders of such institutions felt the need to bring up tliese helpless 
women with tender care. As these institutions were established during 
the time of struggle for national liberation, naturally the products and 
founders had some role to play in tlie national movement. A number 
of national schools were started in order to educate women on patriotic 
lines and to inspire them to participate in freedom struggle. 
Vysya Seva Sadanam 

It was the earliest institution started at Rajalimundry on 2nd 
May 1920 by Nalani Ramalingayya and was administered by Batthula 
Kamaksliamma. It was in die beginning meant for Vysya women. Now 


Gandhian Ashrams & Women Orgamsaiums 


235 


It IS open to till needy women The wimien in tins institution received 
general education, vocational education, music, and line mts. Gradu- 
ally witli Uie all'ilialion ol Andhra Viswakala Parisahd. llie Sadan had 
Andhra Yuvathi .Stinsknti Kahesala. Deserving women not only 
received education I'reely here but were also provided with tree 
boarding and kxiging lacilities. Even the visitors tire sUlowed to slay 
without any charge and a nominal charge on food. 

Vysya Yuvathi Vidyalaya 

Anotlier in.stitution wtts established by Kalangi vSe.shamma for 
the students of Vy.sya community at Guntur in April 1926. The students 
received education in Telugu, Hindi, and Stmskrit languages tilong with 
courses in music, spinning, weaving, cooking, child ctire and medicine. 
Kasturi Vidyalaya 

Ponaka Kanakamma wiUi V. Raghava Chary founded tlie 
Kasturi Vidyalaya in 1923. In 1929 .she purchased two acres of hind 
and Gandhiji hud the foundation for tlie buildings. She managed the 
school witli Uie help of a committee. Due to paucity of funds tlie 
school was forced to be closed. 

Again on 16th June 1944 the .school was reopened as ti High 
School with the help of Tikkavanipu Rami Reddy. The education 
was purely on the national lines. Embroidery, frame-work tind other 
handicrafts were introduced under vocational courses. With tlie 
donation of Rs. 8(KX)/- collected, .she started the Ktistun Devi Industritil 
School on 16tli August 1952. Once Maliatma Gandhi .said "If there 
IS any institution worth .seeing at Nellorc it is Kasturi Devi Vidyalaya". 

Some of the other in.stitutions: 


SI. Name 

No. 

1. Stree Prarthana 
Samaj 


2. Mahila Sabha 

3. Mahila Vidyalayam 

4. Maliila Jatiya 
Vidyalayam 

5. VaLsya Yuvadit 
Vidyalayam 

6. Indira Saranalayam 


Place & 
Year 

Founded by 

Aims 

Eluru, 1910 

Kalagara 

Pitchamma, 

Boppana 

Manikyamma 

Shelter to 
the needy 

Barhampur, 

Burra 

Constructive 

1914 

Bangaramma 

work 

Kakinada, 1923 


Kakinda, 

1924 

Biilantrapu 

Seshamma 

u 

Guntur, 

Kalangi 

Constructive 

1927 

Seshamma 

work 

Vijayawada, 

Turlapati 

Shelter to 




236 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 



1927 

Rafcswari 

Ihe needy 

7. Maganti Annapurna 

Eluru. 1927 

Kalagiira 

Education 

Balika Patasala 


Pitchiimma 


8 Bliarata Miiliila 

Vijayawada, 


Constructive 

Mandali 

1928 


work 

9. Madiru Mandali 

1930-40 

Kameswaramnia 



Peddada 


10 Stree Hitaishini 

Bapada. 

Kanuparhi 

tf 

Mandali 

1931 

Varalakshmamma 

1 1 . BalasaraswaUii 

Tanuku. 1932 



Stree Saniajam 




12. Andhra Mahila 

Rajalimundry, 


If 

Sabha 

1932 



13. Andhra Mahila 

Madras. 1938 


Education to 

Sabha 


needy women 

14. Maliila Seva 

Masulipatnam, 

Dulla 

Education 

Mandali 

1939 

Venkata 

constructive 



Ramanarnma 

work 

15. Sadhuvamma Seva 

Sattenapalli, 

Sadhuvanima 

Adult 

Sadanam 

1942 


Education 

16. Tatikonda Mahila 

Guntur. 1942 


Constructive 

Sangham 



work 

17. Mahila Seva 

Madanpalli, 


rt 

Samajam 

1942 




Sarada Niketan 


One of the pioneering centres during die national movement 
was the Sarada Niketan. The concern expressed by Maliatma Gandhi 
and Jawaharlal Nehru regarding women and need for dieir upliftment. 
and institutions of Maliarshi Karve in Poona, Hitakarini Samaj of 
Kandukuri in Rajahmundry and many such others inspired Konda 
Venkatappayya and Unnava Laksliminarayana. They paid a visit to 
Poona to start an educational institution on die model of Karve 
institution. With diis intention Konda Venkatappayya constructed a 
building at Vetapalem. Due to various reasons financial, and political, 
the institution could not come up in Vetapalem. During the Non- 
cooperadon Movement when Venkatappayya was in jail.. Unnava 
Laksliminarayana with the encouragement of many people started 
Sarada Niketan in 1922, a residendtd educational institution in Guntur 
widi ten students. Raja Nayani Venkata Rangarao Baliadur donated 




Ciaiulliian A.sl)rain,s & Women Oreanisations 


2M 


two acres of land and many otiicrs like Konda Venkatappayya and 
his wife Konda Venkata Subbamma donated afTout 143 75 acres of 
land to Stiradti Niketitn Kasmadhuni Nageswtua Rao Pantulu. 
Motapurti vSesliamnui. Kahin Sita Bayamma. Vadlanianntiti Sundaramnia. 
Kurra Rajyalakshmamnia, and others donated a building with eight 
rooms. WiUi Uie help ol tlonation.s by .several great people Sarada 
Niketan was equipped with buildings for office, dispen.sary, school tuid 
a well. 

This institution provided eilucation purely on nationalist lines 
Students wore prepared for .Sahiti Entrance Examination. The subiects 
of study were Telugu, San.skrit, Hindi or Engli.sh. music or painting, 
elementary knowledge in aritlieniatic, history, geography, domestic 
medicine and vocational training in. sewing, emboridery and .spuming. 
Moral and religious instructions w'erc included in tlie curriculum to 
build character. These activities tapped the talents in women. Every 
year about Rs. 10, (XK)/- was spent towards the maintenance of tlie 
institution and this was met from sub.senptions iuid contributions of 
die local boards tmd municipalities. The Annual Days of the Smada 
Niketan were celebrated with great enthusiasm. People in large 
number along with parents of inmates poured in to witness Uie 
celebrations. These celebrations were presided over by great leaders. 
C. Rajagopala Chari, V.V. Giri, B. Gopala Reddy, Mugiuiti Bapineedu 
and many other great people visited the institution. 

Role in National Movement 

This institution also t<K>k die constructive programme of 
Gandhiji. A htuijsui girl by name Pitchamma was brought up by die 
Niketan. The .girls of Sarada Nikedm played tin intere.sting role in 
freedom .struggle. All Congress conferences in Guntur were attended 
by the girls of Sarada Niketan who used to inspire the people with 
their national songs and prayer. They used to collect funds for the 
Congress frtim door to dtKir. During the Salt Satyagraha Movement 
Unnava Lakshminarayana was welcomed hy about two hundred girls 
from Sarada Nikeran with die .song "Veeragandham Techinaram, 
Veerulevaro Telpudi" widi scent, tilakam and garland.s. 

Lakshmibayamma created a .sort of awareness among die girls 
of Sarada Niketan. She inspired diem by taking a leading part in 
the Salt Salyagralia. Her eff<irt.s to attend the All India Congress 
Session at Delhi were simply admirable. She was arrested on the 
way and brought back. She u.sed to attend every meeting, every 
function along with her children in die Niketan. She worked for die 
equal status of die women. She never spiired anybody who did not 


238 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


respect women Once at Vijayawada a great writer tind poet was 
questioned by her regarding women in iui open meeting when he was 
mentioning only the great male writers of the State She worked for 
non-violence and prevented a number of animal sacritices. She was 
honoured witli Grihalakshmi (Golden bangle) Swarna Kankanam, she 
accepted it on tlie condition, that tlie organisers should not insist her 
to wear it, as she stopped wearing golden bangles after having donated 
tliem to Gandhiji. The Unnava couple believed and treated the girls 
in the Niketan as their .own children. 

Some of the students of Sarada Niketan took part in the national 
movement and were arrested. Nalam Nagalakshmi, Unnava Kalyani, 
Basavaraju Rajyalakshmamma, Sangem Lakshmibayamma, Bharatlii 
Devi Ranga, B. Sakuntala Devi, and Annupumamma were some of 
them. 'Thus the institution trained the women as patriots and selfless 
workers. The Niketan celebrated about thirty widow marriages. The 
orphan girls of this institution not only could stand on their legs but 
well-settled in their life. The Unnava couple became the part and 
parcel of tliis institution which won countrywide renown and was ideal 
institution to promote women's education. The students in Sarada 
Niketan were brought up with a strong sense of national feeling. 
Singing patriotic songs, participating in the prabhat pheris, processions 
were some of its political activities. Along with strict discipline, the 
girls enjoyed some freedom and tender care by the Unnava couple. 
T.M. Harijan Girls Hostel - 1935 

There were some people who did not participate in any of tlie 
political movements led by Gandhiji, but were attracted by his 
pesonality and had zeal and enthusiasm to implement his constructive 
programme. One such persons is Alladi Annapumantma. She was 
a resident of Nellore. When Gandhiji visited Nellore, she was very 
much inspired and donated her pair of gold bangles to Gandhiji. 
Inspired by Gandhiji she took up khaddar. and harijan uplift. She 
started a Harijan Girls Hostel with fifteen girls along witli Tikkavarapu 
Ramireddy a prominent freedom fighter, in Nellore in 1935. He was 
responsible for the construction of hostel building and the hostel was 
named in memory of his mother Tikkavarapu Meenamma. 

Alladi Annapumamma and Alladi Rajyalakshmamma were in- 
charge of finance and administration of the hostel respectively. These 
women belonged to well-to-do families, but out of sheer interest and 
respect for Gandhiji took up the task of harijan uplift. The hostel 
was started with fifteen harijan girls There was guarantee of a job 
to tlie girls of tliis hostel as they were brought up by tliese great selfless 



Gamlliiiin Ashrams Women Orgamsatn>ns 


239 


women. Several l(>iei.en ami Inciian organisaiums eiinie lorward to 
help tile ho.stel wiili provisions like milk powder and other nutritious 
food. All fJiis material was lully u.sed lor the hostel and Uie girls 
ot this hostel were hi ought up in the healthy environment where there 
was scope for fihysical. academic, and cultural development. Tlie girls 
had tlieir education at Kasturi Vidyalaya oi Ponaka Kanakamnia. In 
die evenings die girls were engaged in .spinning. 

The yarn thus spun was woven by the professional weavers 
and again the cloth was distributed to the girls. The girls of die hostel 
maintained gotxl discipline and whenever the Congress meetings were 
held, die girls of the hostel were asked to recite Bagavadgitti and 
patriotic songs and .spin while singing. The girls used to go to each 
locality juid organise cleanliness and other activities. Neidier the hostel 
nor the <irgiuiiscr.s felt any hnancial <ir sixual conslrainLs. Alladi 
Annapumamma's husbiuid Dr. Alladi Mahatlevaiah was not only a 
popular medical practitioner but also a great philanthrophist. People 
from all walks ol life had great regard tor him and his tamily. Hence 
the .couple had the support and cooperation of the people to ctury on 
their activities. Alladai Aniuipumtunma won die approbation of the 
British government al.so. They honoured her with Kaiser-I-Hind Medal 
for her social work, in 1940. 

Andhra Mahila Sahha - 1938 

Social institutions are the physical and human embtxiiment, of 
values heltl by any stK'icty. Tlie nature of die institution, therefore, 
was an attempt of bringing togctlicr people who wtiuld work for a 
commonly felt need or value with people who would contribute die 
resources towards pliysical infrastructure. Durgabiu (Deshmukh) had 
been a builder ol .social welfare institutioa.s par excellence. Her efforts 
were first directed lowartts die needs ol' women which she personally 
experienced as a .single woman widi little formal education. The 
complex ol .social in.stitutions cidlcd die Andhra Mahila Sabha may 
be considered as the mstitiitioiud rellection of her life. Andhra Maliila 
Sabha - the appellation - tlie women’s society of Andhra - was at 
once die symbol of the need for women to have something of their 
own exclusively for the development of women and the title of an 
institution wide enough to encompass many manifestations. 

Andhra Mahila .Sabha was really started at Kakinada as the 
Btdika Hindi Pathasala when Durgabai was only a twelve years child 
in 1921. Tins grew out of a need for Hindi speaking volunteers 
becau.se the Indian Natiomd Congre.ss se.ssion was to be held at 


240 Women ot Andlira in tlie Frecdc^m Str uggle 

Kakinada in 1922 Inspired luid siirred by the cUirion call ol Gtuidhiji 
lor the necessiiry sacrifices in the struggle lor the freedom ot Uie 
country, she took up learning Hindi, spinning on die charklia and 
the boycott ol foreign gwds. liquor etc. In a short span ol six months 
young Durgabai could tram four hundred women just to write, 
understand and speak Hindi. Tliis was probably her first step in tlie 
functional literacy programme tor women which she took up later on 
She trained tliese women not only in Hindi but in .spinning and singing 
national songs. The coming of women volunteers to die Congress 
session ultimately led to participation of women in die national 
struggle. Every woman who had seen Gandhiji, and listened to him 
became a parmer in die National Movement along widi men. 

While studying at Benaras Hindu University, Durgabai was 
inspired by die personality and noble work of Pandit Madan Mohan 
Malaviya. As she watched die university buildings, she used to adore 
die great old man. and it was at that time diat she used to feel whether 
she could ever raise in her lifetime even a single building as die one 
Malaviyaji had constructed for a public cause. This wonderful dream 
came true widi not one single building but a number of buildings in 
Andlira Maliila Sabha in Madras. Hyderabad and odier places. We 
can visualise her ambition and zeal in every building now. In 1937 
she started a childrens club "The Litde Ladies of Brindavan." Durgabai 
and her modier B. Krislinavenamma gadiered children aged four to 
ten by way of teaching them songs and dance and telling them stones. 
Gradually her modier taught die children and their modiers Hindi. The 
All India Radio. Madras has provided an opportunity to train die 
children for broadcasting. This led to stardng of dance classes, and 
soon die numbers had increased to over a hundred children and fifty 
women and die Little Ladies of Brindavan shifted to the nearby house 
which belonged to Bulusu Sambaniurdii. But this continued to grow 
in numbers tmd activities and it became necessary to have a larger 
accommodation, and also teachers. At diat time the Cliennapuri 
Andhra Malia Sabha offered its affiliation to die Little Ladies of 
Brindavan as its women’s and children's secdon. But Durgabai felt 
that die Cliennapuri Andhra Malia Sabha was essentially a men's club 
and die activities catered to men. The atmosphere was not congenial 
lor women and children imd she decided to function as an independefit 
body. So. Andlira Maliila Sabha wa.s started in 1938 in a rented house 
at No.2. Lu/. Church Road The activities of Andlira Maliila Sabha 
were well recognised and die need tor its own building was being 
telt Durgabai was conlidcnt of getting public co-operation She 
‘iRproaclied die Ram of Mirzapur, Rani and Raja of Bobbili. and die 


Gandhian Ashrams & Women Organisations 


241 


MalKiraja ot Pilhapuram who donated Uic land and money for buildings 
of hostel and Mahila Vidytdaya, respectively. 

The main activities ol the Sabha were Hindi, music and dance 
classes, and condensed courses for tidult women. Very soon Uio 
demand for immeditite remunertUive employment forced tlie Andhra 
Mahila Sabha to shirt ttukinng, spinning, weaving, handmade paper, 
bambtx) and cime-work tuid mat-wctiving. The membership drive had 
brought many miporuuit people into the fold of Andhra Maliila Sabha. 
Rangamma Obul Reddy of Hyderabad, Rukmini Arundel of Kalakshetra 
and Sarojini Naidu were the great women to chair tlie annual functions. 
Durgabai launched a lund-raising ciunpaign to augment her resources 
They displayed an exhibition with evening performances for one week 
which fetched them about Rs. 15,(KK)/-. 

It is interesung to note Unit tlie young Durgabai from 1922 to 
1942 .spontaneously saw the human needs and letu'ned her social 
engineering of institutions which physically moved from house to 
house as the clas.ses got too big. The Sabha ran a montlily journal 
'Andhra Maliila' Irom Mtidncs. Quite a giKxl number of articles on 
various subjects of women were contributed by a number of elite 
women. Gradually, after India bectune indepentient, activities and 
services of this institution were recognised by the government which 
offered its cooperation. It is with tlie ctxipenition of the government 
that maternity «md nursing homes and the scheme of training of 
auxiliary nurse-midwives were started. Thus, the Andhra Maliila 
Sabha which was metint to cater to die needs of women ol Andlira 
could now fulfil tlie needs of people, specially women, right from birtJi, 
healtti, educational and finally vocational needs tlirough various 
programmes. 

Tlicre is a vignette in De.shmukh's book, 'the stone that 
speaketh". She wrote "the children btim in our maternity and nursing 
home bectunc die students of our sishu vilitir (nunsery school) and later 
went to the high school as well. One day when I was passing that 
side of die scIitKil a few children asked me whti I was. I replied 
lighdy diat I belonged to Andlira Mahila Sabha. They shouted, "No, 
Andhra Mtiliila Sabha is ours, we were all bom and studying here." 
This was die kind of reply which I always wanted to and wished for. 
What more could a social worker wish dian hearing from die people 
that die institution .serving them belonged to diem and dial they 
belonged to the institution". She had evolved excellent principles to 
guide die functioning of the institutions of Andhra Maliila Sabha which 
had die motto from the beginning "to dedicate to die service of nation 


242 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


and welfare of women and children in the tasks of nation building " 
They are bom out of her convictions rooted m Gandhian ideology. 

Durgabai with her zeal, fortitude, and spirit of service has 
created successive bands of well educated and trained social workers. 
Durgabai's institutional 'order' may be characterised by the dictum "so 
much to do, so little time". Only age, ill-health and finally failing 
eyesight had slowed her down. But her Sabha stood like a Baniyan 
tree giving shade to several unfortunate women who were not only 
sheltered but were made self relient. Thousands of women, children 
and the handicapped received the dedicated services of the Sabha. 
Neither the founder nor the institution had any idea of die women’s 
liberation. She has championed the cause to alleviate the sufferings 
of Indian women. But once a woman enters the portals of Andhra 
Mahila Sabha she somehow feels identified with the institution ' and 
becomes a member of the Andhra Mahila Sabha family. 

Comment 

These women organisations and institutions for women were 
the products of National Movement, The impact of Gandhiji on 
women was deep and the women expressed their feelings through 
these organisations and their participation in them. Another impact 
on women was that they established a number of institutions for 
women not only for sheltering but also to impliment the constructive 
programmes of Gandhiji. The education imparted in these institutions 
was purely on national lines. They inspired and brought awakening 
among women. These institutions became the productive centres of 
partiots and selfless workers. They observed no caste differences, 
worked for the upliftment of women through imparting education, 
training in vocational courses, celebrating communal marriages and 
widow marriages to settle them in life. Thus these women’s 
organisations and institutions played a notable role in the national 
struggle for freedom. 



© FREEDOM MOVEMENT 
IN HYDERABAD STATE 


Hyderabad Slate was die biggest among all the princely States 
in India with a population around ISV^ millions. Linguistically tlie 
State could be divided into Uiree regions - Telangana, Marathwada, 
and Karnataka. Of die 18'/j millions, the Telugu speaking people 
were about ten millions, MjiraUn and Kannada speaking people were 
four millions and two millions respectively, while the remaining 
comprised of the Hindustani and Urdu speaking people. The territory 
of the State was divided into KhaLsa lands, Sarfe-khas, Paigha and 
Jagir Samstanams. In the villages, especially in Telangana countryside 
when the land was owned by big landlords, called the Maktedars and 
the Pattedars, serfdom and semi-slavery known as Baghela and bonded 
labour were the common features of the day. 

Civil liberties were unknown to the people of Hyderabad, 
Freedom of press was totally absent to the non-Urdu .speaking people. 
The Golconda Pairika had to be so named because the Nizam 
Government did not permit tlie u.se of the word Andhra Patrika. Many 
Urdu dailies functioned under the patronage of the Niziim Cabinet 
approval was necessary not only for bringing out any Telugu 
newspaper but also for its contents. 

The percentage of literacy in the entire state was only 4.8%. 
Out of this, the literacy rate of non-Urdu speaking people was only 
3.3% though they constituted 89% of the population. Urdu was the 
medium of instruction which was greatly responsible for the back- 
wardness in education. 

In religious matters the Nizam's rule was highly discriminatory. 

The people of Hyderabad could not remain unaffected by the 
events taking place in British India despite the restrictions and 
strangling atmosphere in the State. 

The formation of Indian National Congress and some of the 
newspapers like "Hyderabad Record" also played a creditable role in 
building up the public opinion in favour of the nationalist movement 
in India. 

Beginning of Cultural Revival 

Amidst this suffocating atmosphere in economic, social, cultural 
and political fields there was hardly any scope for general revival. 


244 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

Women in particular underwent double suppression of feudal lords and 
tlie Nizam. Arya Samaj was established and carried out its activities 
in the State inspite of some restrictions. Falling in line with the all 
India pattern set up by Bala Gangadhar Tilak, the Ganesh Utsav 
celebrations were started in Hyderabad in 1895, in which men and 
women participated. 

About this time several cultural institutions came in to existence. 
The first Telugu Library, namely, Sri Krishna Deva Raya Andhra 
Basha Nilayam was started in 1901. In 1906, a literary association 
called the Vignana Chandrika Grantha Mandali was started to promote 
the publication of popular books in Telugu on science and literature. 
Later this association was shifted to Madras in 1908 as the Nizam's 
Government became suspicious of their activities. Apart from these 
two, other Telugu libraries, namely, Sri Raja Raja Narendra Andhra 
Bhasha Nilayam and Andhra Samvardhini Library were founded in 
1904 and 1905 at Hanumakonda and Secunderabad, respectively. Tlie 
Maharashtra and Karnataka leaders also founded some such institu- 
tions. Due to the efforts of Madapati Hanumantha Rao and others 
the cultural revival picked up momentum. 

The other, features in evidence of a cultural and social 
renaissance during this period was the starting of the Humanitarian 
League. This also aimed to carry on the upliftment of the Harijans 
through the Social Reform League, in 1915. They held annual social 
conferences in different parts of the State at different times and passed 
resolutions on the necessity of promoting primary education, womens' 
education and library movement in the State. 

Another association by name Hyderabad State Reforms Asso- 
ciation was also formed to fight for the political rights of the people. 
When Margaret Cousins visited Hyderabad in 1916, women like 
Sarojini Naidu, Lady Hamina Hydeii, Rustumji Sardumja and others 
established an economic and social organisation for women which had 
worked for women’s education. 

Two Telugu journals namely the Nilgiri Patrika from Nalgonda 
and the Telugu Patrika from Warangal, and a Marathi weekly the 
"Nizam Vijay" were started during this period for building up public 
opinion in the State. 

Gandhiji's decision to start the Non-cooperation Movement 
along with the Khilafat Agitation found great response in Hyderabad. 
The Gandhian influence began to spread inspite of the strict barriers 
set up by the Nizam's Government. The Swadesi propagation caught 
the minds of tlie people and soonr tliey took up to tlie spinning of 


Freedom Movement Hyderabad State 


245 


Khadi and installing charkas in tticir houses. They also took to Uic 
wearing of khadi dress and Gandhi caps. Tlie widow sister ot R.V 
Filial started a charka spinning factory. Many people spread the Khadi 
Movement lunong the people. They also assisted in raising tlic Tilak 
Swaraj Fund. 

With the formation ot Andhra Jimasangh, Madapati Hanumiuitlia 
Rao proved to be die guiding spirit of tlie Andhra Movement. Tlie 
Andhra Janasangh tcx)k up (lie cause of women’s education. Owing 
to its efforts, the Andhra Balika High School in Narayanguda in 
Hyderabad was established in 1928. Tlie first batch of girls studying 
in the Telugu medium were made to appear at the Matriculation 
examination in 1934 at Maiiarshi Karve Institution as Osmania 
University refused to recognise the school. 

Gandhiji and Kasturba visited Hyderabad in 1919. A special 
meeting for women with tliem was arranged. Gandhiji’s speech on 
boycott of foreign gotxis an’d the use of Swadesi had a deep impact, 
on the people. A society under Padmaja Naidu’s Chairmanship was 
established inmiediately to propagate Khadi and Swadeshi goods. 

Earlier to this in 1925 Andhra Stxlari Samajam was established 
by Nadimpalli Sundaramma, Madapati Manikyamma and 
T. Varalakshmamma. 

The Andhra Mahila Sahha 

Under the auspices of Andhra Janasangh various scattered 
movements for the revitalisation of Telugu language and culture, 
liberation of women as well as those against the feudal oppression, 
joined like a confluence of streams in a big river. The Andhra Maha 
Sabha was started in 1930. One of the special features of the first 
Andhra Maha Sabha was that a women's conference called the Andhra 
Mahila Sabha conference was held simultaneously along with the 
Andhra Maha Sabha, on the second and third days. 

This feature of holding both the Sabhas simultaneously con- 
tinued till 1942 when during the ninth Conference at Dharmavaram, 
the \<fomen members felt strong and confident enough to hold their 
own independent and separate conference. 

First Andhra Mahila Sabha (1930) 

Madapati Hanumantha Rao introduced the system of Andhra 
Womens' Conference along with Andhra Maha Sabha as a part of his 
Andhra Movement. This Mahila Sabha was held at Jogipet in 1930. 
Nadimpalli Sundaramma and Dr. Chandramathi Devi were the presi- 
dents of the conference on the first and second day. respectively. Hie 


246 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


women in this conference discussed subjects like status ot women in 
the past and present, evils of child marriages, evil conditions of the 
widows and prostitutes, and need for reforming the situation. 

The Second Andhra Mahila Sabha (1931). 

The Second conference for women was held at Devarakonda 
from 3rd to 5th March 1931. T. Varalakshmamma, a social worker 
of Hyderabad city and also Karunnagar district was the chairperson 
of the session and Satyavathi Bai was the president of the Reception 
Conamittee. The women in this conference reiterated the earlier 
resolutions and emphasised the need for women's education and 
compulsory free primary education in mothertongue. They also felt 
the need for women welfare programmes like midwifery and child 
welfare activities. They condemned the Purdah and Devadasi system. 
They emphasised the need for the marriage of these Devadasis. 
Hundreds of women from different parts of the state attended the 
meeting, prominent among them were Nadimpally Sundaratnma, the 
president of the first conference, Madapati Manikyamma, Sangam 
Venkat Eiamanamma, Gadepalli Satyavathi Devi and wife of Pulijala 
Venkata Ranga Rao, wife of Bhoomi Reddi of Kamareddi and many 
others. 

The Third Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The third meeting of women was held at Khammam in 1934 
after three years of the second conference as the Nizam's Government 
delayed sanctioning permission. The president of this session was 
YeUapragada Sitakumari, a famous social worker and a great scholar 
The president of the Reception Committee was Chairaii Lakshmi 
Narasamma, the Headmistress of the Government Girls' High School, 
Khammam. The conference was attended by about two thousand 
women many from the city of Hyderabad, including the students from 
Andhra Girls High School. Arutla Kamala Devi, and Nandagiri Indira 
Devi were some of them. Most of these women were the wives of 
active members and leaders in the Mens' conference. But at the same 
time there were some women who happened to be the wives of 
sanatanists, facing a strong opposition for attending these conferences 
or taking up the social reforms. 

The Fourth Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The fourth conference for women was held at Sirsilla in 
Karimnagar district in 1935. The interesting feature of this conference 
was that while presidents of the Reception Committee Jogitepalli 
Radhabayamma and the president of the session Madapati Manikyamma 
both happened to be the students of Andhra Girls' High School, 


Freedom Movement Hyderabad State 


247 


Hyderabad, the men's conference was presided over by Madapati 
Hanumantlia Rao tmd the Women's Conlcrence by liis wife, Madapati 
Manikyamba. The photographs ot tins couple were fixed m lockets 
and sold at die conlcrence. Tlie people were very much thnlled suid 
inspired by diis couple. The conference di.scus.sed topics like 
upliftment of women imd women's education. The credit of arranging 
this ideal couple as presidents of men and women conference goes 
to Syam Rao of Secunderabad, a siK'ial reformer ruid a social worker. 

The girl students of Andhra Girls High School, Hyderabad, 
came as volunteers under the guidiuice of Nadimpally Sundaramma 
and made the conference a success. For die first time competitions 
on various subjects including gymtiasycs were arrtuiged in which the 
girl students of die school not only participtited but won several prizes. 
Students from Lai Darwapi Girls School and Gajaiiana Vyayamasala 
performed gymnastics. A volunteer orgiuiisation of girls was formed 
by die student union of Andhra Girls High School in this connection. 
The Fifth Andhra Mahlla Sabha 

The fifdi womens conference was held in 1936 at Shadnagar. 
Burgula Ananta Ltikshnii Devi litid presided over die conference. 
Along widi reiterating the earlier resolutions, spread of awakening and 
knowledge among the villagers were stinie of the other items placed 
for discussion. 

The Sixth Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The .sixdi womens conference was held at Nizamabad in 1937. 
The president of die .session was Naiidagiri Indira Devi, G.A. (B.A.). 
The president of the Reception Committee was B. Saiyavathi Devi. 
Resolutions on women's upliftment were pas.sed. 

The Seventh Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The seventh ctinfcrcncc for women was held at Malkapuram 
in 1938 with Yogyasila Devi, B.A. as its President. The conference 
was attended by thousands of women. A resolution on the abolition 
of child mairiagcs wa.s intrtxiuccd. Suravttrapu Pratapa Reddy, A.B. 
Narsi Reddy, Burgula Antmta Lakshmi Devi and Illindala Saraswathi 
Devi were the .speakers in favour of the resolution. There was some 
oppositum on diis issue. Batchu Venkateswara Gupui, Madiraju 
Ramkoteswara Rao and Chidirematiam Veerabhadrasarma were the 
only tlirce who opposed and voted against die issue. 

The Eighth Andhra Mahlla Sabha 

The eighth conlcrence ol' women was held at Chilkur in 
Nalgonda district Ironi 3rd to 5th June 1941. Tlie conference was 



248 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


presided over by Rangamma Obul Reddy She was a scholar in three 
languages Telugu, Urdu and English. She was an influencial lady 
having contacts with many popular orgimisations. The conference of 
women and men under Ravi Narayan Reddy stressed on tlie need for 
economic and social freedom for women 
The Ninth Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The nintli conference was held from 22nd to 24th May 1942 
at Dharmavaram under the presidentsliip of Rangamma Obul Reddy 
again. This was the conference where women decided to hold women's 
conference independently and separately. 

The Tenth Andhra Mahila Sabha 

The tenth conference for women was held at Hyderabad from 
23rd to 25th May 1943. The session was presided over by the famous 
social worker Yellapragada Sitakumari. This was the second session 
under her presidentship. The president of the Reception Committee 
was Alivelu Manga Tayaramma, the Maharani of Palavancha Samstanam 
of Kliammam district. This was held along witli die men's, conference 
though it was said to be held separately. 

The Eleventh Andhra Mahila Sabha 

This was the first independent and last in the series of the 
Mahila Sabhas. This was held at Bhuvanagiri under die Presidentship 
of Nimmagadda Satyavathi Devi, a staunch Communist. The com- 
munist element started dominating the mien's conference from 1942 
onwards, and now for die eleventh conference a communist presided 
over it. 

These women conferences which were held almost simulta- 
neously along with Andhra Mahila Sabhas reveal diat there was a great 
need for the upliftment of the women. Tlie women who were in Purdah 
for various reasons and belonged to different classes in the society 
participated. In the beginning, they participated as audience attending 
die conference. Gradually tlie number increased from hundreds to 
diousands. The elite women took active and prominent part in 
presiding over die conferences, and in die deliberations. These women 
conferences tried dieir best in bringing awakening among women. 
Tliese conferences emphasised mostly on die rights of women which 
were taken up by the All India Women's Conferences and other 
organisations. The women benelitted very much and gained under- 
standing aiid experience of tlie situation and diey added beauty to die 
conferences. Tiie male organisers of die Andlira Malia Sabha were 
•tHixious to bring women of these families to die conferences. The 



Freedom Mt)vemeni Hydenibiul State 


249 


discussions and resolutions were on women's educatuMi. economic 
independence, property rights, representation in the legislature and 
widow marriages. They lought bitterly against child marriages, 
polygamy, and Devadasi system The conferences were held in ;i Iree 
and uninterrupted atmosphere lor which Madaptiti Hanumantha Rao 
was re.sponsible. During the iliird conference at Khammam under 
Yallapragada Sitakumari while the resolutions on scKial reforms were 
taking place, the .sanatamsts who opposed this brought the police tind 
tned to interrupt the conference. But Madapati Hanumiuiiha Rao did 
not allow tins There were ten women conferences presided over by 
eight women presidents. All tJie.se women were eminent and had very 
good background which enabled them to ctime forward, (vide biog- 
raphies). These conferences encouraged the women to continue tlie 
activities of tlieir choice. 

Arutla Kamaladevi, who attended tlie conference in tlie begin- 
ning became prominent leader later in the turned struggle. Some of 
the women like V. Rukminamma and Kalvakutla Satyavatlii remained 
as silent audience with liberal views. The women during the 
conference days were engaged in Prabhtit pheris and Ntigtira .Stuikirtanas, 
in which tlie whole village femsUe folk took part. 

But the Andhra Mtilia .Sabha and Andhra MahiUi Sabha never 
had any political intentions. Tliey aimed at bringing awareness on 
the prevailing conditions in die social and economic lields. But. as 
can be .seen, it is impossible to remain unaffected from political 
influence. We find in the beginning of die conferences Uicy had only 
mild liberal views which gradually led to strong political views 
resulting in the form of division in the conference into Nationalists 
and Communists tmd Satyagrahtis to put an end to die Niztim's 
autocracy. 

The despotic and communal nature of the Niztim's Government 
in Telangiina tind the vertical feudal structure of die .society forced 
the di.strict orgaiii.sations of Congress to work in clo.se co-operation 
till die accession of Hyderabad wSmte into tlie Indian Union in 1948 
Swami Ramananda Tirtha took the initiative in organi.sing the fomia- 
tion tif the Hyderabad State Congress in 1938. The Nizam's 
Govenimcnt retused to give permission to Us lormation on the pretext 
that it was a coniniunal and a .subversive body, dirough a Gazette 
Extraordinary on 8di September 19.38. The leaders tried to convince 
the audiorities but found that all the doors for reasonable negotiations 
were clo.sed. So, they decitied to conduct Satyagralia individually 
adhering sinctlv to the nrincinle of non-violence. Satyagralia was 



250 


Wtmicn Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


offered twice or thrice a week from different localities, such as Sultan 
Bazar, Kachiguda Railway station, Abid shop police station and Pathar 
Gatti. 

Along with Swamy Ramananda Tirtlia and many otlier leaders 
of the Congress, Yallapragada Sitakumari offered Satyagralia and 
underwent various terms of imprisonment. Although eighteen batches 
composing of four hundred Satyagrahis participated in two Satyagrahas 
we find women element was very less. But the political activity of 
women began of Hyderabad with this Satyagralia. 

The Quit India Movement in Hyderabad 

The Quit India Movement in British India had its repercussions 
m the Hyderabad State also. The decision to participate in the Quit 
India Movement was adopted not only by the State Congress in 
Hyderabad but also by the various Praja mandals in die princely States. 
Among the persons arrested during this Quit India Satyagraha were 
some women who accompanied their husbands. Gyankumari Heda. 
Vimalabai Melkote and Ramaswamy were all arrested along with their 
husbands. Padmaja Naidu was also one of the women who was 
arrested. 

A meeting was announced against the ban on Gandhi Jayanthi 
celebrations on 2nd October 1942 at Victory Play Grounds. But 
Padmaja Naidu was arrested and therefore the meeting could not be 
properly conducted. In the evening Ramaswamy couple, Gyankumari 
Heda and Vimala Bai Melkote went to die Victory Grounds. 
Gyankumari Heda made a stirring speech. Ramaswamy couple held 
the Congress flags. They were all arrested. 

After prolonged negotiations, the Hyderabad Government lifted 
the ban on the State Congress in April 1946 which matched with die 
occasion of Cabinet Mission in British India. It was during the same 
period the Communist party launched its "anti feudal struggle" in 
Telangana districts of Hyderabad, from October, 1946. 

When India became independent, the Nizam's Government in 
Hyderabad declared its intention to remain as an independent State, 
outside the Indian Union. This decision was naturally resented by 
a great majority of the people who wanted Hyderabad to join die 
Indian Union. 

Join Indian Union Movement 

Swamy Ramananda Tirtha began to mobilize die political 
workers, students, and youth under die banner of the State Congress 
and demanded the Hyderabad Government to join the Indian Union 
and also to participate in the Constituent Assembly. (The "Join Indian 



Freedom Movcniem Hyderabad State 2^1 


Union Movement" was launehetl on 7th Auitust ld47 Processions 
and big demonstrations took place on the 13Ui of August. The orders 
of the Niziun's Government weie strongly 'resenteii by the people by 
openly hoisting the Imlian National Flag m public places and by 
ceremoniously tirgsinising the processions atul meetings. On 15lh 
August Swtimy Raniananda 'Firtha who was to hoist die flag which 
was handed i>ver to him by Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested. It was 
hoisted by Motilal Mantri later on. 

The respon.se and excitement of the people was immense. 
Illiterate people came out to honour ih-' hiilian I'lag at tlie risk of 
severe puni.shment and arrest. This Union Idag was considered as 
a symbol of till Uicir chcri.shed objectives lor which the people ol 
Hyderabad had struggled since a long period About 21,(KX) people 
participated m this Satyagraha witli great emiiusiasm. Many women 
of Hyderabad who were conlrolletl and sultocated soeially, economi- 
cally and politically t<xik a leading psirt in this .Satytignilni. Ytisluxla 
Bai and Brij Rani Gour were tirrested on tlie 15th smd 16th oT August 
for hoisting the Indian Flag tit Bcgumbti/ar. Alter tins three or four 
batches of women lollowed and led the campaign. Vimalabai Melkote, 
Gyankumari Hedii, IJsha Pangrekar. Alialya Bai :oul others broke tlie 
curfew tirders and laced hitlu clisu'ge and tear gas (vide biographies). 
Lakshmi and Radha Bai Dcshnuikh hoisted the Indian Flag at Ita in 
Kalambi taluk Osmanabad. The struggle continued till the Sumd.still 
Agreement of 3()tli November 1947. Simihu'ly. Nsmdapurkar, Padmaja 
Naidu, Ratmikar Kamalamma tmd Sumiihra Bai defied govenunent 
restrictions and were arrcsledl. and Sindhu Patliak at Aurangabad 

and Rajcswaribai at Khtimmam defied government's ban on hoisting 
the flag and holding die meeting. 

But the law and order bcgjui to hrettk down and the people 
in the State were put in a state of terror as the RazaJkars took things 
into their hands and started hxiting and ar.son. The Communist party 
which launched the anti-feudal agitation already was banned by die 
Nizam's Govcnimcnt. But die Communist.s entered into a pact witli 
die Hyderabad State Gongre.s.s and formed the "United Front.” Under 
this they rai.scd voluntary .squads among the villagers and employed 
them' in demolishing cu.stom.s in the collection of levy etc. Whenever 
they occupied a village they ttnik care to sec that they planted die 
Communi.st party flag side by .side the Congre.ss flag. In .some villages 
where the Communi.st influence predominated dicy did not allow die 
Congress to work. On account of these contradicting activitie.s, die 
people were m utter confusion regarding whom Uiey should obey. Tlie 


252 


W(imen ot Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Razkaras harra<;ed them in the day time while tlie Communists troubled 
them during tlie night The people telt that they were under "Dm ki 
Sarkar" and "Raat ki Sarkar". Between tliese two opposing forces, 
the life ol the people became miserable. Even though tlie State 
Congress was involved, die element of Gandhiji's non-violence was 
scarcely seen. The villagers harrased by die Razakars needed the 
power to resist not by the joy of martyrdom. So die Communists 
as partners of die United Front assumed control of violent movement 
of resistance through dieir volunteers. As die situation grew worse, 
the villagers invited the Communists to take the lead and supply them 
widi the arms. The village squads soon established centres of 
resistance which confronted both the armed forces and die Razakars, 
simultaneously But the United Front broke down by die beginning 
of 1948 when the State Congress realised that the Communists were 
trying to take undue advantage of the situation and entrench themselves 
in die villages for which they committed several acts of violence. 

The Standstill Agreement which was concluded on 29di No- 
vember, 1947 could not control the situadon in Hyderabad. The 
Nizam's Government began to violate the Agreement and the Razakar 
activides began to increase day by day. Arson, loot and dishonouring 
of women became die practice of the day. Several villages were turned 
to ashes by the Razkars. But in many places, the trained Kisan Dal 
workers resisted the Razakars. The struggle in 1947-1948 in 
Hyderabad marked the emergence of a mass upsurge against the 
autocracy of the Nizam's Government. 

The rotten rural administration of Nizam's decaying autocracy 
began cracking under die hammer blows of organised Kisan Move- 
ment. Women were the special targets of the beastly Razakars at 
one end and the Nizam's police at the other. At every place more 
than two hundred women came out on the streets protesting against 
the monstrosity of the police. The jiolice force panic-striken and 
demoralised at this display of collective strength apologised abjecdy 
and promised never to meddle with women in future. To defend and 
save the life, honour, and property the people resisted the Nizam's 
lords who came to rob the people of their peace and their newly 
acquired rights, and in carrying the struggle. The Andhra Mahila vSabha 
led by the Communist Party organised the fighting youth of Telangana 
into "Guerillas". The Times of India called tliem as "marauders" but 
the people know them as "Praja Sena" (peoples' armies) 

Some of die women who formed die Guerilla squads were Mallu 
Swarajyam, Kamala Devi Arutla, Survavathi, Bni Rani Gour and so 



Freedom Movement Hydeiabad State 


2S^ 


on. They were all m.spired by Ayihinima a washer woman who 
resisted die leudal lord with chilly powder and protected lier ciop and 
the entire village supported her. Theie were a number ol women who 
followed the example of Ayilamma in the Armed Struggle. 

Then followed the Hi.stonc Police Action which ended with the 
Liberation of Hyderabad Stale from the Ni/.am. 

biographies of women who participated 

IN HYDERABAD LIBERATION MOVEMENT 
HYDERABAD DISTRICT 
Ahilya Bai 

Ahilya Bai was born in iy29. She wtis the wife of Raghavendni 
Rad and was a resident of Hyiierabad. She suffered detention from 
5th September, 1947 to 3rd December, 1947 m the Central jail, at 
Hyderabad for offering Stuyagraha during the Join Indian Union 
Movement. 

Gyankumari Heda 

Gyankunuu'i was born on October 1 1th 19 IK at Khurja Buland 
Shahar district of Utuir Pnidesh. She was the wife of Harischandra 
Heda, a resident of Hyderabad. She studied upto B.A. Her grandfather 
was the colleague <uid close tcssociaic of Swami Dayjuianda .Stiraswtitlii, 
So, naturally every member in die himily was inlluenced and 
enlightened. Her mother was very pjirticular to proviile educatuin to 
children. Her fadier was a social reformer tmd an active Congres.s 
worker. He worked as dictator at Meerut Commissiontiry, With diis 
atmosphere in the family, every member wtis involved in one way 
or the other in the freedom movement. It was with this background 
she was brought up from childhotxl. At die age of twelve, she started 
participating in die Prabhat Pheris, picketing before liquor shops, 
foreign cloth .shops and harijan work tilong with her mother. Tlie 
whole family was influenced by Gandhiji from die time he visited 
their house. Gyankumari was more inspired to see the smile of 
KasOjrba. Gyankumari liked Kasturba’s simplicity and soft spoken 
nature. She saw Gandliiji and Kasturiba couple at the age of nine. 
When everybody was giving somediing to Bapu, she tixi gave her 
pair of golden ear rings voluiiUu-ily. She suffered detention at the 
age of twelve for three montlis when she along with her mother and 
other children was in Prabhat Phery. After her miuriage with 
Harischandra Heda they .settled in Hyderabad. He belonged to 
Maratwada region and .she belonged to Uttiur Prade.sh. But the couple 
worked for the liberation of Hyderabad State from the Nizam. Just 



254 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


like Andhra Mahila Sabha. tlicre were Karnatiika and Mitliiwashtra 
Panshads. Only eight women used to raise tlieir voices a.s women's 
participation in Hyderabad' State was not tliere before 193K It was 
decided to defy the ban order ol the Nizam against the establislirnent 
of State Congress. Along witli tlie local leaders, Gyankumari at tlie 
age of twenty started working actively and mobilising men and women 
by going house to house propagating the Satyagralia principles 
Women rarely used to come out at tliat time but women like Vimala 
Bai Meikote. Asha Taiwa and others came forward boldly. Gyankumari 
was the only woman member in the Congress committee She and 
other women tried to awaken the women of the State tlirough Charka 
Sanghas. The women whose husbands were in political field were 
active and joined the Congress activities. Many Hindu women 
understood the condition, and sympathised with tlie situation but due 
to fear could not participate but supported her indiiecUy through 
donations. Padmaja Naidu being a neighbour to Gyankumari was very 
much helpful to tlie movement. In 1942 when British India was in 
the grips of Quit India Movement, Khadi Pracharak Sangh in 
Hyderabad decided to celebrate Gandhi Jayanthi. The Nizam as usual 
did not permit to hold a public meeting. Padmaja Naidu and Heda 
were firm in holding a public meeting inspitc of die him orders on 
October 2nd. All tlie leaders were arrested as they tried to defy the 
order of tlie Nizam. The news about the meeting was informed to 
all through the volunteers who came from die City College, and 
Osmania University and also promised to gadier at die Victory 
Playgrounds. It was decided that Padmaja Naidu would preside over 
the function and Burgula Ramakrishna Rao would speak. But Padmaja 
Naidu was arrested early in die mormng before die meeung. Gyankumari 
managed to reach the grounds successfully, iirspite of heavy pre- 
cautionary measures. The Police Commissioner Raja Baliadur Venkat 
Rama Reddy and Mir Akbar Ali Khan went to Bmgwla Ramakrishna 
E^o's house to slop die meeting. People watched the procession from 
the tops of their houses and with the echoing cries of Maliatma Gandhi 
Ki Jai. Gyankumari Heda was arrested and put at Girija Prasad Dcvidi 
at Moula Ali. The jail treatment was decent and she met many 
communist women there. 

Gyankumari suffered a third time detention from September 5, 
1947 for three months in the Central Jail, Hyderabad for organising 
the Join Indian Union Movement and for hoisting the Inditin Union 
Flag in several public squares in defiance of the Nizam's Government 
and was released on November 3, 1947 on account of die Standstill 
Agreement. She toured intensively several districts of erstwhile 


Freedom Movement Hydembud wStatc 


255 


Hyderabad Suite to nusc the morale of the people dunng Uie Razakar 
atrocities and also undertook walking tours with Prof Bansilal tuid 
later worked for tlie rehabilitation of die uprinited ftimilie.s. While she 
was out, her nine year old son refused to leave the place <md stay 
witli a relative in Gwalior. Tlie impact of the situation on the boy 
was great He even refused to be under die timiy protection. 

Gyankumtiri was die provincial representative of die Hyderabad 
State Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust from 1945-1963. She 
was a Member of die Executive Committee of the Hyderabad State 
Harijan Sevtde Sangh from 1946-1957, member of die Hyderabad State 
Relief Rehabilitation Committee from 1948-1953, a member of the 
Advisory Board of Hyderabad State Gtmdln Smtiraka Committee, since 
its inception till 1956, and a member of die State Board Bharat Sevak 
Samaj from 1951-1957. She was die nominated member of the 
Executive imd vS landing Committees of the Indian Council of Child 
Welfare, New Delhi since 1964 and Chaimian of its sponsorship 
committee She was a member of die Women Saving Ctimpaign from 
1954-1957 a member of the National vSavings Central Advisory Board 
since 1960 tuid a member of the Reorgiinisation Committee of National 
Savings Movement from 1967-1969. She was interested mainly in 
women's adult education and siKrial upliftment in villages. Her main 
work was with Kasturba Trust. Being an agent of it for such a long 
period, she prepared a second line of workers and left it. Tlie main 
work of die trust was to send Telugu knowing girls to Sitanagaram, 
Marathi knowing girls to Poona and Kannada knowing girls to Arsikere 
in Mysore for training. As lui agent of die trust, she could not enter 
the political field, hut obtained special permission from Gandhiji as 
Hyderabad problem was .somedmig different even after the Indepen- 
dence. She did not contest in the elecdons but was nominated to 
the Rajyasabha by Siu'dar Patel. 

Gyankuniari Heda derived her inspiration from both her parents 
and support from her husband to work actively in various programmes. 
Her husband Hariscliandra Heda was an M.P. for 13 years and had 
contacts with people at different levels. Tliough the couple belonged 
to different places and region.s, they worked for die cause of this place. 
Tliey merged widi the problems of die place. Gyankumari was 
encouraged by her husband in running her multifarious activides. The 
couple has donated all dieir property to a trust. She brought Gandhiji's 
ashes to Hyderabad and it wa.s her honour to merge diem in die 
sangani. 

In the words ot Vanian Rao. a Hindu correspondent, "what 
distinguishes Gyankumiuri Heda from odier leaders is not her oratorial 



256 


Women of Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


brilliance which she possesses to a considerable measure, not even 
her charming disposition which has won her innumerable friends but 
her essentially human qualities and the sincerity and singieminded 
devotion witli which she executes any task." She imbibed the spirit 
of high patriotism from her father Balmukund Thawar, a prominent 
social worker and a Congressman from Uttar Pradesh. The fire in 
her could rouse large masses of people into action 
Sarju Bai 

Sarju Bai was bom m 1909 at Hyderabad. She was the daughter 
of Motilal Vijayavargiya, a resident of Hy Jerabad. She passed Hindi 
Bhushan examination and retired as a teacher. She was a Congre' s 
worker and suffered detention from September 5. 1947 to May 30, 
1948 in tlie Central Jail during tlie Join Indian Union Movement. 

Lakshmi Bai Sangem 

Lakshmi Bai was bom in 1911 at Ghatke.sar. She was the 
daughter of D. Ramayya, a resident of Hyderabad. She was 
"Vidushini" in Telugu and Sanskrit from Saradaniketan National 
School. Guntur and a Diploma holder in Fine Arts. She graduated 
from Karve University. Poona in 1942. She derived inspiration from 
her School and its founders Unnava Lakshminarayana and his wife. 
She took part in the boycott of Simon Commission in 1928 and 
suffered one years' imprisonment in the Vellore Jail for participating 
in the Salt Satyagralia Movement in 1930. She also participated in 
the Civil Disobedience Movement and was imprisoned till 1933. She 
was highly inspired by Gandliiji and fasted along witli him in 1932. 
She was interested in Swadesi Movement and boycott of foreign goods. 
Before independence, she participated in tlie stmggle for freedom from 
British India. In the Vellore Jail, she had contacts witli such great 
national leaders like Durgabai. She moved closely witli Durgabai and 
inspired by her. she turned into a social worker. While in jail she 
leamt Hindi from Durgabai and appeared for Hindi exams and got 
the certificates of Hindi Saliiti and Vidushi. In Vellore Jail. Achanta 
Rukminamma was the leader who used to teach English to tlie women 
prisoners. Durgabai was tlie Vice-Captain of tlie women political 
prisoners. Lakshmibai was a volunteer who felt tliat it was not a 
jail but a school, in which she leamt a lot. She took part in tlie Bhudan 
Movement in TcUuigana and toured along witli Acharya Vinoba Bhave 
in 1951 

She founded Indira Seva Sadan for Uie poor and destitute 
women imd children in 1952. She wanted to make (he.se people 
.stTOially useful and ideal citizens. Konda Venkata Riuiga Reddy was 



Freedom Movement Hyderabad State 


257 


Its president and Lakshmibai was its secretary. This institution was 
built on die model ol Bapuji’s Ashram. It was a site ol si.xteeii acres 
and she made it seil-sulticieiu thiough agncultiirc, gardening, and dairy 
farming. A school was establi.shed attacheil to the Sudan in the name 
of M. Hanumanta Gupta who donated his entire property There were 
about two hundred inmates in die Sudan. It had a poultry ctUled 
Kolalialtim tuid a garden called Mtidhuvanam . 

The Sudan not only gave protection to the women and children 
but also provided free education, and training in vocational courses 
so that they could stand on their own legs. Lakshmi Bai maintained 
various programmes like sisu vihar. condensed courses, vocational 
courses music and dance chesses, hostel, agricultural farm, dairy milk 
production centre, poultry farm, oriental college imd st) on. The vSadan 
is situated in Siudabad on Hyderabad - Vijayawada Road. She was 
a childless widow but felt that she had a very big fsmiily. She donated 
all her property to the Sadtui. She was an M.L.A. from March 1952 
to October 1956 and Deputy Minister lor Education in die Giwernment 
of Hyderabad from 1954 to 1956 in Buigula Ramakri.shna Rao's 
Ministry. She was an M.P. Irom 1957-197! and a recipient ol 
Tamrapaira. The message in the Sadtui reveals her patriotism. She 
died on June 2, 1979. 

Satyavathi Nimmagadda 

vShe was born in 1916 in a village in East Godavari district. 
She was die ilaughier ol Paturi Riunayya and wife of N. .Subramanyam. 
She was a resident of Hydenibad, Her father had conhicts with 
Congress. All her relatives were also Congress ftillowers. It was 
in thi.s atmosphere she was brought up. She was inlluenced by Gandhiji 
when she saw him. As a girl of fifteen years, she started ptirticipating 
in the bonfire of die foreign doth, wearing khaddar, and sale and 
propagation of khadi. She developed nationalist feelings tlirough 
reading newspapers. She gave tiway her pair of gold bangles to 
Gandhiji when he vhsited Kakinada. She lollowed in die processions 
of Durgabai during the Salt Satyagridia Movement. Sea water was 
brought luime and .sitll was prepared. 

She got mtirried at die age ol ten. Her husband was a journalist 
working lor the Swaraj Paper initialy and later in die Hyderabad 
Bulletin from I93.3-.14. For this purpo.sc, diey .shifted to Hyderabad. 
She was silent till 1940. When her husband died in 1940. she slowly 
started participating in die Midiila Sabhas. die Ni/am State Mtdiila 
Sabha etc. She workeil in the Andlira Yuvadii Mtuidah Navajivan 
Mandali where .she met Pranieela Maheiidran Yasodabai and Arutla 



258 Women of Andiira in the Freedom Struggle 


Kamal Devi. They discussed matters such as social evils, problems 
of child mamages, illiteracy, rights of women, property rights to 
women etc. When Andhra Maha Sabha was separated from tlie 
Communists, it was these women who decided to have a Malnla Sabha 
separately. They worked hard in bringing Andhra Yuvadii Mandali 
to the level of tlie masses, which used to be tlie forum of higher classes 
at the beginning. She then turned to be a Communist as tlicre was 
a great need to develop the conditions of women in the Nizam State 
which was not possible with Congress and its non-violence She 
participated in the Join Indian Union Movement, defied the Nizam 
rules, and was arrested and imprisoned in September 1947. She was 
released m 1948 after the Police Action. She was kept in Chanchalguda 
Jail. According to her the treatment in jail was decent. The other 
jail in mates were Yasoda Bai, Gyankumari Heda, Sarju Bai and others. 
All these women except Yasoda Bai and Satyavathi w'ere released after 
three months. She confined her activities to the city only. After tlie 
Police Action, she participated in the Telangana Armed Struggle, 
toured every part of the Telangana along witii Arutla Kamala Devi 
asid visited Machireddipaly and Aakunuru where atrocities were 
committed on women. They brought pressure on the Government to 
take action. During this time she along witli Yasoda Devi was arrested 
and kept in jail till 1952 general elections. She was the recipient 
of Tamrapatra and pension as a fighter of Join Indian Union 
Movement. 

During her tour, she and Kamaladevi propagated tlie need for 
women's upliftment. Women like Yallapragada Silakumari, Rangamma 
Obul Reddy and the wife of the Police Commissioner extended their 
support and cooperation by accompanying her in tours. Tliese women's 
organisations of Andhra, Karnataka, Maratlia, and Gujarathi requested 
the Nizam through a memorandum to give protection from tlie 
atrocities of the Razakars. 

Sitakumari Yellapragada 

Sitakumari was bom on October 9tli 1914 at Bapatla, in Guntur 
district. She was the wife of Narayan Rao, a Sarvodaya worker. She 
was a staunch Gandhian and constructive worker. She wore and 
propagated khadi and took up spinning and hawking khadi door to 
door.. She had established a khadi production centre for women. She 
was a "Vidwan" and a Diploma holder in Sanskrit and Telugu from 
Madras University. She worked as a teacher in Keys High School, 
Secunderabad between 1946-56. She was a silent Congress worker 
since 1930. She was a pioneer in die Nizam Rashtra Andlira Mahila 



Frccduijj Mtn'finciu Hyderabad Slate 


259 


Sabha and President ol Second and Tenth conferences liekl in 1934 
and 1941, respectively. These conterences discussed the prevailing 
social evils, education m relugu. social relornis like widow marriages, 
child mtirriages, Irecilom ol speech, economic independence ol women 
and .so on. Her house was a sheltei home lor women anil destitutes. 
She used to bring de.serlcd widows mid destitutes and settle their 
problems through compromi.se. renuirnage or education. 

She used to take care of orphan chikiren. Mtiny children were 
brought up by her. .She never made any distinction between Hindus 
and Muslims. Even dunng die Raztikar Movement she concentrated 
more on the problems ol women rather th:m on religion. She worked 
towards die e.stabli.shmciu ol Andhra Yuvathi Mandalt m 1935 along 
with lllindaJa Saruswadu Devi, Burguia Ananta Lak.shnu Devi and 
Rangamma Ohul Reddy. 'Hie mam puxpo.se of diis Mandal was to 
create awakening tunong women through an organistition. She worked 
along wiUi Sangem l.akshmibju m Indira Seva Sadtm, worked with 
Gyankumari Hcda in Kasturba CJandhi Trust, of die Tehuigana wing, 
and participated in the Andhra StHlari Samajam and iiddressed die 
women at various meetings. 

In 1928 dunng Dasara, Sitakumari gave a stirring speech on 
die welfare of women, social reforms and the role to be played by 
the youdi. This was her first public .speech that led her to become 
very popular. During dio.se days there were very few people who 
spoke boldly in public. Sitakumari was one ol diem. 

In 1929 when Kasturba Gandhi visited Hyderabad, a separate 
meeting wa.s arrsmged for women at Prem Tlieatrc in which .Sitakumari 
participated. 

Sitakumari re.sptinded to die call of Gandhiji and implemented 
Gandhian principles of con.struciive work and Gandhian way of life, 
Ramakri.shnsi Dooth, a C'ongress leader, .started a branch of the All 
India Chaifci Sangh wiUi stile and propagation of khadi as its main 
activities. Sitakumari wore khadi and propagated it. Swadesi 
campaign wa.s organised by Padmaja Naidu. Many moderate leaders 
also joined the mtivemcni as it was not a political movement. 
Sitakumari alsti ptirticipatcd m all these Swadesi campaigns and 
meetings. 

1930 Salt Saiyagraha of British India influenced the people of 
Hyderabad. Inspite of the Nizam Government's restriction and ban 
over the circulation of the newspaper "Harijan." thousands of 
cyclostyled copies were distributed by Uie youtli. Sitakumtiri along 
with her iiu.sband participated in this ta'tivity. 



260 


Women ot Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


Sitakumari gave shelter to many hanian girls in her house. She 
implemented every word of her stirring speech. She visited tlie areas 
where the Razakar and die Nizam police committed atrocities to which 
the women were die victims. She went to Akkireddiptdli as one ot 
the members of die commission and got die first hand information 
She went all over Telangana during die Razaktir movement of 1947- 
49 boldly to console the affected women tmd fight for justice She 
gave shelter to botli Hindu and Muslim women. 

In 1947, when die State Congress decided to launch Satyagraha. 
all die leaders were arrested one by one. It was decided diat Sitakuman 
should also go in one of the batches. Suddenly diere were orders 
from Gandhiji not to send women to Satyagraha. So, she was stopped 
but did not sit idle. She had propagated Gandhian principles, arranged 
and attended secret meetings, and continued constructive work. 

Sitakumari was a great literary figure. She wrote a number 
of inspiring and emotional articles and essays in Golconda Patrika and 
otlier journals on women's education, freedom, child marriages, dowry 
system, widow marriages, against blind orthodox beliefs and other 
social evils m order to awaken women socially and politically. 

Sitakumari was an unopposed M.L.A. from Banswada constitu- 
ency in the first Visalandhra Assembly during the Sanjeeva Reddy 
Government. As an M.L.A. she provided many opportunities to 
helpless women. Training was given in spinning with Amber charkas. 
She encouraged many women to take up selling vegetables, milk etc.. 
She also established Pramada Mandali in her house and provided adult 
education for women. 

Tlius we find in Sitakumari, a social worker, literary and a 
political figure of unparallel qualities. She passed away on January 
21, 1986. 

Sumithra Devi 

Sumithra Devi was bom on October 9, 1918 at Hyderabad. She 
was the wife of Deviprasad and a resident of Hyderabad. She was 
a Matriculate in the Hindi medium. She was imprisoned for twenty 
days during the Grant Civil Liberties Movement of, 1938 on behalf 
of the Arya Satyagraha Samithi, Hyderabad. She underwent 
Gramasevika course at the Mahila Ashram. Wardha between 1938- 
1942. She was a member of State Congress from 1942 onwards. She 
suffered detention during tlie Quit India Movement in 1942. She was 
arrested again for participating in the Join Indian Union Movement 
in 1947-48. Thus she went to jail three times. 



Freedom Movement Hytleiabad State 


261 


She was a Hanian leader and had contacts with great leaders 
like Sarojini Nauiu as well as common women like Ponnarnniii who 
used to sell grass. She was d:irk in complexion but her sictivities 
attracted the fair complexmacd Devi Pra.sad so much that tJiey got 
married under Ary:i Samaj rites He was hei political menttir. She 
had the capability of mobilising people while she wa.s working. She 
wa.s treated allectionalily iis :i sister by one and all. 

With her limited resources, .she started Arya Yuvajana Pata.sala 
at Chikkadpalh in Hyderabad. She al.so esutbli.shed Khadi Pracharak 
Sangha.s and C'harka Sanghas in Hyderabad. She .started Jagjivan 
Patasala at Naniyangtuia. There were hardly any official or non- 
official organi.sations wiUiout her being a member. 

She wtifi the member of Andhra Yuvaihi Mandtili. In 1946 
she was elected as the president of the Backward Clas.s Association. 
After Police Actitin she bectune a 2meniber of die Re.scue Wtirks 
Organi.sation and .served llie cau.se of women. In 1951 .she became 
a Congrcs.s member of tlie Hyderabad Municipality and its Vice- 
President in 1954. She wastt member of the Cottage Industry Advisory 
Board the District Devciopmeni Btiard. Backward Clas.s Association, 
and Indian Conference of Socisil Service. 

As an M.L.A., .she got Uie Harijan colonie.s constructed at 
Rajendranagar, Hayatnagjir, and at Medchal samithis. She worked hard 
in getting die supply of wtiter iti several Blocks of Hyderabad and 
electnfxcaiion ui mtmy villages, A leather industry was established 
at Uj^al. She intrtxluccd cooperative farming in twelve villages in 
two thousands acres of land. Tlie petiple of Uppal and Annojiguda 
received land.s and buIkK'ks. She was an M.L.A. for four continuous 
terms. 

She was appointed as the Honorary Magistrate by the Govern- 
ment and was a Senate Member of the Osamania University. She 
alway.s worked for the downtrodden. She did full jastice to the position 
of M.L.A. She questioned the ministers in the A.ssembly and fought 
for justice. 

She started Bapuji Seva Sadan at Uppal in 1960 for the 
downtrtxiden women. Damexiaram Sanjeevayya inaugurated it. About 
sixty women received training in different vocational courses. The 
Sadan was run on the model of Arya Samaj, Prayer, physical exercises, 
yoga and education were carried on in this Sadan. She received a 
land of ten acres as a political sufferer which she donated to the Sadan. 
She was never tempted by any post. She had a melodious voice and 
was gcHxl at folk music. 


262 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Sumitlira Devi was a courageous lady. Dunng die Razakar 
Movement, the razakars tned to harass her. She tought against them 
bravely and the Razakars left her on tlie tankbund at midnight When 
Jawaliarlal Neliru was arriving to lay tlie foundation stone for tlie 
Reddy Women's College, she fought with tlie Collector, Madapati 
Hanumantlia Rao and otliers on behalf of Harijans to whom that land 
belonged and did not allow them to enter the place. After a long 
fight, she got compensation and land for the Harijans. So, she named 
the new Hanjan Colony as Madapati Hanumantha Rao Colony, as 
Madapati Hanumanth Rao helped her in this effort. 

Usha Pangrekar 

She was bom on 2nd May 1927 at Aurangabad, Maharashtra. 
She was the wife of Damodar Pangrekar a resident of Hyderabad. She 
passed Intermediate. Her husband was a Congress worker who gave 
up his studies at the age of fifteen. He offered himself as one of 
the Congress Satyagrahis in the batch led by Kasinath Rao Vaidya 
in Hyderabad on 24th December, 1938. He defied the Nizam 
Government's ban order on the formation of Hyderabad State Congress, 
and suffered detention. He was the personal secretary of Swami 
Ramananda Tirtha from 1943-1972. It was from this background that 
Usha Pangrekar was brought up. After her marriage they settled in 
Hyderabad. Due to the political atmosphere in the hou.se, she 
participated in the Maharashtra Mahila Parishad and its fight against 
the social evils and problems of women. She was encouraged by 
her husband in all these activities. She offered Satyagraha during the 
Join Indian Union Movement with one year old child in arms. She 
underwent detention from September 5, 1947 in the Central Jail, 
Hyderabad and was released on January 30, 1948 due to the Standstill 
Agreement between the Nizam’s Government and the Government of 
India. 

She was awarded B. class jail where the treatment was decent. 
She was in the jail with some of the Communist women Yasoda Bai, 
Brij Rani Gour, Tara Paranjepe, Ahilya, Vimala Bai Melkote, Gitabai 
Chartankar, Santa Pedagaonkar from Parbani, Nanc%)urkar and fifty 
other women. Her son was named as Vijay by Swami Ramananda 
Tirtha to commemorate the incident of lifting the ban on the State 
Congress. Though she is a Marathi women, she knew Telugu and 
other languages and fought for the liberation of Hyderabad State from 
the Nizam's Government. No language distinction barred the struggle. 
She was a member of All India Khadi Committee, the first woman 
in this committee. 



I'lccdoin Movement Hyilerabad State 26^ 


Vimalabai Melkote 

She was horn in is 10 at Amanjrahad. Maliaiasfititi She was 
tlie wile of Di. ChS, Meikote. a tesuietn nl Hyderabad. Her niotlici 
tongue was Kannadtt She was udlueneed by iter husband and Ins 
people alter marnage. It w:is this biukground. which led her to offer 
SatyagnUia tilong with hei husbtind She was tilso inllueneed by 
Gandhiji and his constmetive {irograriunes. She had partieiptited in 
picketing of lorcign clotli, propagation ot khadi. and going to Harijan 
colome.s to propagate Chintlhian pnneiples. Her house was tlie centre 
of poIitictU activities and Congress olliee. She took part m the 
Karnataka Mahila Mamlali activities. She used to arrange meetings 
for women to carry on the activities. Along with her sixteen year 
old sister, Kamala Rao. who was a* widow and her sister-in-law 
Vanamali, she ttKik part in the celebrations of Ciandhiji's birthday that 
took place at the Victory Playgioumls m Hyderabad. Her brother T. 
Ramaswsimi, and fiyankuniari Heda went to the grounds in tlie Jiuiaui 
car. They were ah arrested and put ui the Krishna Prasad Devidi 
at Moula Ah lor liltccn days. It was worse than a cell without any 
ventilation and water facilities. But they were allowed to bring a 
personal cook. Her house w'as continuously attacked and .setirchcd 
by the Police. But she managed to hide .secret liles in the solas tuid 
in wheat bugs. 

It WU.S deculed to celebrate C'liarka Jayanthi at the call ol' Pandit 
Nehru but all leaders were arrested. One of the women's meeiiags 
at Hashmath Clunj m which Patlmaja Naulu was to pieside over was 
cancelled due to the lathi cJuirge. 

Quite olten Congress meetings were held in her house in which 
she along with <»yankumari Heda ;md Vaidya inid participated. She 
Again folUiwcd her hu.sband in offering Satyagraha during the Join 
Indian Union Movement. She sullered detention from September 5, 
1947 in the Central Jail aJting wiUi some Communist women. These 
>vomen underUKik hunger .strike m the jail for not being given any 
acilitie.s for cooking, .spining etc. But on the whole, the treatment 
n the jail was decent. Slie was released on November 30, 1947 due 
o the Stand.siill Agreement. 

Her son who at tlic age ol tourteen years was trained to carry 
he .secret papers wa.s caught and latlii chiirged. She helped the 
inderground workers. Her brother RajgoptU was an active under- 
ground worker who used to carry the secret cyclostyled material, 
niensivc .search went on for him. Once he came out wiUi an ink 
nark on hi.s torehead suid u was Vimalabai who cleverly covered it 


264 


Women ot Andhra m the Freedom Struggle 


Irom die eyes of the police witli a blindage. National level underground 
workers like Atcliyut Patwardhan and Aruna A.saf Ah who escaped 
(roni jail stayed iii her house for three montlis. While doing a favour 
to them, she got delayed and the tram started moving. She requested 
the engine driver and managed to enter m a military compartment and 
then into a first class compartment. Meanwhile she was separated 
from her husband and children but escaped the police search. She 
could meet her children but her hu-sband was in underground for some 
more time. Thus she led a very long struggled political life. 

Vimalabai was an active social worker. She worked for tlie 
education of women. She worked as Chairman of tlic Hyderabad State 
Social Welfare Advisory Bomd, President of tlie Family Planning, 
Member of the Kliadi and Village Industries Board, Hyderabad and 
Vice-President of tlie Akliila Karnataka Parishat Reception Committee. 

She was die recepient of Tamrapatra awarded by the Govern- 
ment of India in recognition of her services during the freedom 
struggle. 

Janabai Naidu Reddy 

Janabai, bom in 1920 at Secunderabad, was die daughter of 
A. Nagabhushanam Naidu and wife of Krishnaswami Naidu. She was 
a resident of Hyderabad. She studied upto middle school. She took 
much interest in spinning charka and received training in it. She 
trained about 650 candidates in spinning on charka at various centres. 
She also trained pupils under die guidance of Swami Sitram. She 
did not go to jail. 

Saraswathi Kalvakuntla 

She was bom at Suryapet in die old Nizam State. She was 
die daughter of Linganna and got married at the age of eleven to 
Easwaraiah. who was a government employee but believed in Con- 
gress. Bodi wore kliadi. Saraswathi was influenced by Gandhiji 
dirough newspapers. She implemented Gandliiji's constmetive 
programmes and went to Sevagram Wardha-and met Gandhiji and 
Kasturba. She attended die Andhra Maliila Sablias of die Nizam State 
along wiUi Yellapragada Sitakumari. Puram Rukminamma and G. 
Veeramani Her husband's broUier K.C. Gupta was an active worker 
in Hyderabad Freedom Movement suid in State Congress activities. 
He was a book publisher luid maintained One Anna Library to educate 
and enlighten die people on the actual situation in Hyderabad State 
and in India. Saraswathi attended all Congress meetings and Arya 
Saniaj meetings in the British Residency area. She took up die kliadi 
propagiuida luid sale from door to dtxir. She always wore handmade 



Freedom Moveinem Hyderabad Slate 


265 


Khadi. She slu'wed eomage ihinu}; the F<a/akar time when she wa.s 
caught by them Slie did not go to }ail. 

Rangamma Obul Reddy 

She wa.s the grand daughter ol Raja Fiahadur Venkat Rama 
Reddy and wile ol a I’ohec C’omnn.ssioner. She wa.s tlie follower 
and supporter <»1 Congress. Stic altemleil and presided over the 8th 
and yUi Maliila .Stiblias Slie extendetl eo-operation to women like 
Y. Sitakuman wlio lought tor the cause of women. 

Nandagiri Indira I>evi 

She wtis the dtiughter <if Vadltikondti Narsimha Rao tind wife 
of N. Venkata Rao who was a p<iUtical sulierer during die time of 
Grant Civil l.iberties Movement. He wa.s a writer. It wa.s witli this 
background that Inihra Devi wa.s brought up. She studied in the lone 
Telugu ,sch<H>I ol that time lounded by Madtipati Hanumantha Rao 
and others. vShe appeared for tlie scluxil I inal examimition from Kturvey 
University, studied F*YA (First Year 'in Arts). SYA (Second Yetu' in 
Arts) tmd CJ.A. (CFratluate in Arts), i.e. Grihitagtiniti. As a school 
student, she attended Muliiiu Sahhas anti pturticipated in die compe- 
tition.s through schiKiI. She is a gtKKi speaker whti u.sed to .spettk tin 
the problems related to sticiety, wtmien illiteracy, child marriages, etc. 
She presided over die Andhra Mahila Sabha in 19.^7 at Nizamabad. 
She wtirked to bring awakening among the women in Telangana area. 
As wife of a frcetlom fighter, she extended all her coopicratitm tind 
support to her husbimd. She faced numy difficulties during die Razakar 
movement, when her husbjuid went underground and was arrested later 
on. She left Hyderabad for Vijayawada, spent her time there smd 
returned only after Police Actitm. She is a writer ttxi but concentrated 
on humouBTou.s .sttirie.s while tier hu.sband concentrated on tragic .storie.s. 
Burgula Ananta Lakshmi Devi 

Ananta Lakshnu was the wife of Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, 
the famous political figure of the Hyderabad State. She did not have 
any political experience or participation. She attended the Andhra 
Mahila Sabhas and presided over die Shadnagar Sabha. These sabhas 
discussed the social evils, condition of die women, need for reforms 
etc.- She was one of the founder members of the Andhra Yuvatlii 
Mandali and was asstxiiated with it for fifteen years. She worked hard 
to obtain land for the institution and collected donations along with 
Y. Sitakumari and Rangamma Obul Reddy for tlie building of die 
Mandali.. It now has a high school, Moniessory school, and working 
women's hostel along widi die usual Mandali programmes of dancing, 
sewing etc. 



266 


Wdrnen of Andhra in die Freedom vSiruggle 


She had political background from her parents side as well as 
from has husband's side But she could not openly uike part in any 
political activities due to lack of protection to women But, she never 
discouraged the participation of her husband and brothers, Mandumula 
Narasing Rao and Ramachandra Rao. She extended her full coop- 
eration and support to diem. She worked her best dirough the Sabhas 
for the cause of women. 

Prameela Mahendra 

Prameela, affectionately called by her close associates, is 
Pramila Tayi. She is a popular Communist worker and wife of 
Mahendra, an active Communist. She retired as headmistress of the 
Bansilal Balika Patasala. She was influenced by Arya Samaj and 
women's meetings where discussions were held on the conditions of 
women and women's rights. In Hyderabad, Leelavadii Naidu and the 
Nizam Princesses started training in Air Raid Precautions. Prameela 
Mahendra decided to have contacts with people so she joined the All 
India Women's Conference. Tliose were the days when women never 
came out. She organised a number of meetings in different localities 
while organising tlie training in Air Raid Precautions. She used to 
do tliis work boldly and travelled on cycle to carry out her activities. 
The Nizam princesses were very much pleased with her work. 
Gradually Prameela was attracted to the Communist party. She worked 
for the downtrodden through different organisations to eradicate the 
prevailing social evils. She worked without party or language feelings 
in the Anti-Nizam Movements. During the time of War, a committee 
was formed with Nizam princess as tlie president, and Prameela as 
Its secretary to provide rationing facilities to the poor people. While 
carrying on these activities door to door, she came to realise that the 
life of Muslims was also as backward as that of the Hindus. She 
ran night schools and tried to provide solutions to the problems of 
the people. She combined social work with political work. She 
distributed party pamphlets on atrocities of Razakars and Nizam 
Government and people immediately reacted to that. She regularised 
tlie ration card system through the Navjivan Mandal. She always 
advised and fought against the disunity and ignorance. She devoted 
her time in propagating Communist party activities, its meetings and 
to prepare the people to join tlie armed struggle. When every women 
member in tlie party decided to go to villages, to carry on the armed 
struggles, she remained in the city as she was not knowing tlie local 
language. She was not known as a Communist, and she continued 
her underground work till tlie Police Action. She was arrested in 1951 


{•’rcctloni Movement Hvilerabiul Slate 


267 


and released in 1‘>S2 before eleetnms She is a Maluuashinan. but 
settled tn Hyderabari for a job and i»ot married to Mtiheiulra. a Icilow 
Communist She harl a miserable life beloie she settled in hie. She 
was brought up m an orphanage 

Since her chiklhood she had the itnti-Bntish feeling and never 
studied English in school with this feeling She was only ;i Matriculate 
when she joined as die Headmistress of Bansilal school Clradually 
she improved her actidcniic qualifications. She always wore khadi 
and never took tea or coffee with strong swadesi feeling. .Slie worked 
with a number of w'onien's organisations. vShe represented Inditi at 
Berlin in 1967 as a Secretary to World Women's Organi.sation to study 
tlie problems of affectetl wtirnen of KurojK* tifler the two World Wars. 
She nui ctxiperative societies for women which provuled adult 
education, .sewing etc. She liied in the year 1997. 

KHAMMAM DISTRICT 
Bhadramma 

Bhadnuiunti wjis a resident of Rairnandy in Khamnuim district. 
She was the wife of Suryanarayana. She suffered detention for some 
perUxl in the Centrtil Jail, m Warangal tind subsequently from 
20.7.1948 to 19.9. 1948 in the CVniral Jail. Hyderabad during tlie Join 
Indian Union Movement 1947-1948. 

Bhamini 

Bhamini luuled from Muddunur, in Madira taluk. Her husband 
was M. vSomulu. She belonged to liie Lsunbatlsi tribe, and was caught 
by the Razttkar.s along with her hu.sband and raped to death during 
the Join Indian Union Movement, 1947-1948. 

Kasamma, Dariganda 

Ka.samma was a resident of Kothagudem and .suffered detention 
for sometime in the Central Jail Wtirangtil. Subsequently, she under- 
went detention from 20.7.1948 to 19.9.1948 in the Central Jail, 
Hyderabad during the Join Indian Union Movement 1947-1948. 
Lakshminarasamma., Jamula 

Lakshminaricsamma belonging to Edavalli in Khammam was die 
wife of Suryanarayana. She wa.s sentenced to one weeks' R.I. for 
participating in die Join Indian Union Movement 1947-1948. 
Lajwanthi Chaturvedi 

Lajwanthi wa.s boni on 25th Augu.st 1925 at Firozabad, Uttar 
Pradesh. She became a resident of Khtunmam, after her marriage widi 
Ramkishore Chaturvetli. She wa.s a graduate and social worker, .she 
was arrested for having participated in the Quit India Movement, in 


268 


Women of Andhra m tiie Freedom Struggle 


1942 at Lucknow She took keen interest in the construction of a 
maternity ward in die Khammam town and a dispensary with maternity 
ward in Subravid village. She was tlie joint-convenor of women’s 
wing of Khammam District Congress Committee She worked tor 
women and harijan upliftment. She devoted herself to the constructive 
programmes of tlie Indian National Congress. 

Rajeswari 

Rajeswari bom in 1927 was the daughter of Sambayya a 
resident of Madira. She suffered imprisonment from October 9, 1947 
to May 4, 1948 in the Central Jail, Warangal and Hyderabad in 
connection with tlie Join Indian Union Movement. 

NALGONDA DSITRICT 
Arutia Kamala Devi 

Kamala Devi bom in June 1920, was the daughter of P. Venkat 
Ram Reddy and Lakshminarasamma and wife of Arutia Ramachandra 
Reddy of Hyderabad. She had her education upto matriculation after 
marriage in the lone Telugu school in Hyderabad founded by Madapati 
Hanmantha Rao and others. With her, the need for hostel for girls 
was felt. As a student she attended the Andtira Mahila Sabhas and 
participated in Arya Samaj activities. Gradually she started participat- 
ing in the discussions in Mahila Sabhas about women. A school for 
girls was started through her collection of donations in her home 
village Kolanupaka. People began to meet in the libraries and 
discussion and political economic matters were started gradually. Th 
Nizam realised tlie danger of the existence of tlie school and 
confiscated the school buildings. The school continued in Jain Mandir 
with the cooperation of the people till 1942. 

Kamala Devi marched to Hyderabad witli more than sixty 
students and their mothers in protest against the tortures of tlie Nizam's 
officials and demanded justice. 

During the II World War, Kamala Devi was trained at 
Vijayawada under Dr. Actchamamba in Air Raid Precuation and the 
same campaign was carried on in her area. Along with this she 
undertook anti-drink campaign, led women's processions, meetings, 
and started adult schools for women. 

Kamala Devi, with her husband, worked for the removal of 
bonded labour, illegal exhortion of money, and high taxation. Their 
efforts in Kolanupaka spread all over Telangana. Many women joined 
the campaign and spread the ideas among the people. 

She was well trained in Guerilla warfare and joined the 



historical Anns Stiufiplc to put <ui end ti> the Ra/akai’s atunatics anti 
the NiZiun. Hci luuise %vas l<H»tetJ In the Ka/akats. Dunni’ the vears 
1946-1948, tliat is upto the tmie ol f’tiltce Acuon. Kainala Devi 
addressed huntheds of puhhc tiiceiiiips, all the hu/ard.s auul 

dangers invuivcd tluiuig the auinetl suuggle peritid. She eiUhu.sed ntn 
only women but ailso men. She Ife’caime well kntiwn tliroughout 
Telangana. She coUecied plenty td ;inns thnnigh her lightening attacks 
in Nalgonda, Wttrangal aiul Kamunagai th,strict.s Alter Police Action 
she continued to remain underground tor .sometime «uid at last in 1949, 
she was arrested. She was put in pul tor six tnontlis each m Nalgonda, 
Warangal tuid Secunilcnihtul jails and lor one year in Aurangabad thus 
a total peritxl ol' 2V, years irnpnsonnient. She underttKik last Ibi die 
improvement of jail conditions and rccugnition as pohuctU prisoners 
along with some okl women. At last she was released in 1951. 

Kamala Devi was elected with thumping majority as M.L.A. 
from Aleru constituency. Nalgonda district for three terms from 1952 
to 1967. She was die leader of the opposition pirnty in Assembly 
in 1963-1964, Vice-president Irom the 1969-1971, and a member of 
All Ifidia Women's Conference. She strongly believed in peace through 
arms. She propagated con.structive work, harijan movement etc. Tlic 
government recognised the,sc pc<q>lc as Desa Sevikas irrespeetive of 
their parties and approach. She was thus honoured and given jsension 
as freedom fighter by the government. 

Mallu Swarajyam 

She was bom in 1 93 1 in Koihagudem, Suryapet taluk, Nalgonda 
district. Mallu Swarajyam was the daughter of D. Rami Reddy and 
Chukkamma. Swarajyimi was active even as a young girl in the Andhra 
Maha Sabha of the Hyderabad State. Altluaigh she herself came from 
a landlord family, she could mix very freely with the most oppressed 
sections of the people. She worked throughout the Nizam-Razakar 
days. She was the letiklcr of the Koya people's resistance at the 
Gunadala centre. She t«-ganised men and women to participate in 
the Telangana .struggle. As she belonged to a landlord family, a 
tutor was engaged for her cudeation at home. There were no girls’ 
schools in tho.se days in the Nizam's territory. She observed that the 
condition of women was deplorable wiUi all social evils like illiteracy, 
child marriages, polygamy, drinking and beating women and children 
by men, bonded labour etc. The Nizam carefully tried to see that 
tlie feeling of liberation and anti-British and also the Civil Disobe- 
dience Movement of 1930 did not reach the Nizam state. But he 



270 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


could not prevent many people in Telangana getting highly inlluenced 
There was also a revival by the moderate leaders m creating awakening 
among the people. Women like Yellapragada Sita Kumari worked 
tor the awakening of women. 

Swttrajyjim was gradually inlluenced by the Communist Party 
She was inspired by her sister Sasirekiia and her husband who were 
already Communist leaders. Her motlier encouraged her very much 
She was sent to Vijayawada for training. After training she toured 
all over Andhra and propagated freedom struggle. She, at the age 
of sixteen, inspired a great number of people with her oratory. 

She tlien returned to Nizant's province and worked for the 
liberation of masses from the exploitation by tlie landlords and 
Razakars. Her house was burnt by tlie Razakars. vShe highlighted these 
atrocities in self-written songs and folklores describing the exploitation 
of tlie landlords, and prevailing conditions of the tribal people. The 
tw'O sisters toured all hilly tribal areas on horse back and made 
lightening attacks on the police to collect arms. They trtiined the tribal 
women in Uie use of aims foi self defence. People belonging to 
different categories worked in unity for the liberation. She was in 
die forefront organising women and men in these struggles. She had 
been an active whole time functionary during the whole period of the 
Nizam - Razakar days and subsequently for three years in the Godavari 
forest region. She was initially a zonal organiser and later an area 
committee member. She was the inspirer and leader of the Gunadala 
centre-koya peoples' resistance and fight. She has trcmondous 
initiative and capacity to go among the agricultural labour and die 
most oppressed sections of the people. She mixed with them diough 
she herself comes from a landlord family. An award was declared 
for her capture. She remained underground for a periotl about six 
years. During her exile, she became ill due to lack of nutritious food 
but she never left her ideals and aims. 

Swarajyam got married in 1954 to M. Narsimha Reddy a 
Communist leader. She became an M.L.A. from Tunguluri constitu- 
ency. In die assembly she often used to question die Government 
and argue about die problems of women and atrocities committed on 
them. She propagated prohibition luid demanded the Government fo^ 
funds. She served as Assistant Secretary to Suite Maliila Sangham 
(Andlira Maliila Sabha) from 1945-47. She worked among the Koya 
tribals in Warangal. Kiu-imnagar. and Adilabad districts. She was die 
Vice-President of Suryapet Panchayat Samithi during 1970-78. She 
is one of the prominent leaders in die Nalgonda district. 


Freedom Movement Hytlerabsid State 


271 


Comrade Rangamma 

Hading Irom ('herukupally in Nalgonda district. Rangamma 
joined die Oimmunist Paity along with her husbjuid in ld46. She 
remained in the paity even thougli hei husband left it due to some 
personal rca.son.s. During the anti-Ni/.am struggle, she movetl tilong 
with the guerilla .squads. She used to stitch red flags and pre.scnt 
them to the .squtuis. She ha<l also undergone military training. 

She acted as a skillful courier to an important technical 
organiser and kept alive the hnk.s with the C’entre. This women guerilla 
very ably brought an importmit leader who was in dangerous situation 
to the Centre. She became die secretary of the party in one of die 
centres of Rajaram zone (Miryalgudem Taluka) becau.se of her ability 
and efficiency. .She was arrested due to the mischief played by a 
group of nch peasants of Tallapalh. On hearing the news of her arrest, 
hundreds of women rushed to see her. and listen to her stimng .speech. 
After her release in 1951, she became an active worker in the taluk, 
participating in all political and mass activities. Rimgamma was an 
active guerilla squad member and a political leader. Bnj Ram Gour, 
Tirupadianima, Savithranima, and Narasamma were some of her 
guerilla squad memhers. In Godavari forest areas a greater number 
of women especially Koya women had joined die squads and actively 
functioned, as couriers, ineharge of squads, organisers etc. These 
women faced .some nucmal private .social problems. 

Such are die great sacrifices the Telangana Movement called 
for and die women tif Telangium ro.se to die occasion. Harmdranath 
Chattopadhyay wrote poems anti tales of Telangana Armed struggle 
in which the women ;uid tfieir .sacrifices were elegandy de.scribed. 
Ramulamma 

Rtimulamma was born in 19.27. She was die daughter of 
Gopayya, and a resident of Mangalapalli, Nalgonda taluk. She was 
killed at die age tif eleven by a combined btuid of the Nizam's Police 
and the Raztikars for refusal to reveal the whereabouts of the village 
guards during die Join Indian Union Movement 1947-48. 
Yellamma Day a 

Yellamma was a resident of Sitrampur, Ramannapet, NtUgonda 
district. She wa.s the wife of Bondayya, an agricultural labtiurer. She 
was arrested and killed by die Nizam's Police imd the Razakars during 
die Join Indian Union Movement 1947-48. 

WARANGAI. DISTRICT 
Butchamma, Karra 



272 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


Butchamma was a resident of Bairanpally in Jangaon taluk. She 
was the daughter of Mallayya, an agriculturist. She refu-sed to pay 
forced contribution to the Nizam's government during the Join Indian 
Union Movement 1947-48. She was shot dead along with seventy 
five other villagers including women and children on August 25, 1948 
when they resisted them in a combined raid by the Razakars and the 
Nizam's Police in Bairanpally. 

Akkayya, Mangati 

Akkayya, was a resident of Kolukonda in Jangaon taluk. She 
refused to pay the levy to the Nizam's government in response to the 
no-tax campaign during the Join Indian Union Movement. She was 
shot dead along with twelve other villagers in February of 1948 in 
a combmed raid by the Razakars and the Nizam's Police who- were 
led by the son of Visunur Deshmukh fa landlord). 

Ramamma, Gujja 

Ramanuna, bom in 1878, was a resident of Warangal district. 
She refused to disclose to the Razakars the whereabouts of tlie village 
squads during the Join Indian Movement 1947-48. She was strangled 
to death by a combined gang of the Nizam’s Police and the Razakars. 

Santamma Karra 

Santamma was a resident of Bairanpally in Jangaon taluk. She 
was the daughter of Venkayya an agriculturist. She was shot dead 
on August 25, 1948 along with seventy five other villagers including 
women and children by the Razakars and the Nizam's Police when 
they raided Bairanpally for having refused to pay the forced contri- 
bution to the Nizam’s Government during the Join Indian Union 
Movement 1947-1948. 

Brijrani Gour 

Brijrani bom on July 20th 1921 at Hyderabad in a Kayasta 
family. She was married to Raj Bahadur Gour, a famous freedom 
fighter and a Communist leader in the Hyderabad Freedom Struggle. 
She studied upto Uttama in Hindi. She was married at a very young 
age but due to her various social activities and other difficulties at 
home, she left the house and began to have contacts with the 
Communist Party, and became its member in 1944. She became an 
active member of the Maliila Navjivan Mandal. It was through this 
Mandal that she carried out a number of activities. On 16th of August 
at Begum Bazar, she along with Shankar Rao, a worker of tlie All 
Hyderabad-Student Union, was arrested on the occasion of ceremonial 
hoisting of the Indian National Flag. Though she was a Communist, 


Frce(j(^m Movement Hyderabad State 


27^5 


as a Satyagnilii m tiic Join Indian Union Movement, ottered Satyagnilia 
and was arrested. Before die tirresl, a severe latin charge was made. 
When a police otficial rushed towards Bnjrani, .she resi.sied imme- 
diately and received trom him a severe .slap. Later the police officer 
had to apologi.se on this action. However, .siie was arrested and 
sentenced to six montlis. In jail she was asked to remove bangles 
and tlie sacred chain which she refused bluntly The jail authorities 
insulted and hara.s.sed her. She was kept m front of cnminals. But 
on the third day she was joined by Ya.sodti Btii, Giiimakumari Heda, 
Vimalabai Melkote and otliers juid .she wtis relieved from fear. 

After relea.se, she continued her activities like first aid to the 
injured commdes, inspite of tlie dangerous situahon created by the 
Razakars. Once the Razakars tried to hara.ss her but .she escaped 
cleverly. Then she decided to stay underground. She was the President 
of the Kashtajeevi Maliila Sanghani, Secretary and later President of 
Andhra Pradesh Maliila Federation. She expressed a desire that these 
Mahila Mandals should do something ftir tlie general awakening of 
the women. 

Ravi Sita Devi 

Sita Devi, the wife of the famous communist leader Ravi 
Narayan Reddy was a resident of Hyderabad and an active Communist 
worker. She did not go to Vijayawada for training but along with 
Brij Rani she learnt cycling, .self defence etc. She u.scd to attend the 
Telangana Andhra Mahila Sabhas. She organised the Communist dens 
along with N. Satyavathi and others. Once, while helping escape of 
some of tlie Communist leaders in Bollepally, she was caught by the 
police and taken to the police station. She was not released until a 
notable person in the village gave evidence. At last Janardhan Desai 
told the police that she belonged to a re.spectable family and was 
innocent. She was released late at night with police escort and 
expenses paid for her travel to Hyderabad by train. Through out the 
journey, the police checked for her in every station. She was brought 
to the Sultan Bazar Police Station and released. On die 15th August 
1948, she along with Brij Rtuii, Pramila Tai, Satyavathi, Yasoda Bai, 
Saiju Bai, and others went to hoist the national flag. The meeting 
was followed by firing and lathi charge, while everybody escaped. 

During the Armed Struggle, she did not come out but remained 
underground. There were stimc differences regarding the continuation 
of the armed struggle among the communists. She along with her 
husband decided to stop die tirmed struggle. She worked actively along 
with her husband in preparing cyclostyled pamphlets on stopping of 



274 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

the Armed Struggle. Then die couple left for Bombay and stayed 
there for some months witli great difficulty There was an enquiry 
about them and Uieir children were questioned. AlUiough she did not 
go to jail, she piu'licipated in the Join Indian Union Movement 

Mudigonda Lalitha Devi 

Lalidia Devi was the wife of M.S. Rajalingam a veteran freedom 
fighter of Telangana. Owing to social, economical and political 
oppression diere were very few women who came out of dieir homes 
in those days But women in Telangana tried to come out through 
Andhra Mahila Sabhas, Congress and other organisations. One such 
woman was Lalitha Devi. We do not find her name in the jail records 
But the contribution she made through her constructive work in 
Warangal such as propagating Khadi and handicrafts is commendable. 
Spinning everyday and harijan movement deserve special mention. 
They had Gramardliika examination in which political education was 
included as a part of the syllabus. Though there was no official 
affiliation witli any university tlie examination was conducted by 
Rebbapragada Mandeswara Satina of Kovvur, a contemporary of 
Gandhiji, who worked in the tribal areas. Anotlier examination tliat 
was responsible for bringing political awareness in the people of the 
Nizam State was Saraswatha Paiishat examination conducted by 
Suravaram Pratap Reddy. Lokananda Sankaranarayana Rao and his 
wife, Kodati Narayana Rao and others. Though these examinations 
were confined to the elite, they were jpowerful enough to spread these 
ideas among the masses. When M.S. Rajalingam was in Wardha, 
Lalitha Devi staying with her father who was a religious preacher, 
toured a number of villages. She followed her mother and preached 
Gandhian principles and constructive programme along with religious 
information. She used to visit the landlords houses and meet the 
women belonging to landlord's families to preach the Gandhian ideas. 
She, thus, educated many feudal ladies against the pardah system and 
other social evils and enlightened them about constructive programme. 
She encouraged them to write Gramardhika Rajyanga Vigyan Thirtha 
examinations. 

Padmaja Naidu 

Padmaja Naidu, a native of Hyderabad, was one of the eminent 
women Governors of India. She was the daughter of Sarojini Naidu 
tlie Nightingale of India. Her fatlier was major Govindarajulu Naidu. 
She was bom on 17 November, 1900. She had home education and 
at tliat early age. she was influenced by Gandhiji. She assisted in 
tlie collection of Tilak Swaraj Fund at Hyderabad in 1920. She was 




Frec<J<>m Movement iHdeiahad State 27S 


one of tlie founders ot the Hytieiaba<l hianch ot the Indian Natuuial 
Congress. vShe wsis also the loumler ot Plague F^eliel A.ssociation in 
Hyderabad started in Id2‘> Slie estendetl her eooiKTation ami supfKiit 
to all prevalent ixihtual activities in Hytlerahad. She \va.s court 
arrested during the Quit India Movement by re.solvmg to piirticipate 
in the Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations on Octobc'r 2ml 1942 at Hydciabad 
in defnmee ol tlie ban order impo.sed by the Ni/.am's Goveniniem. 
She toured the districts ol erstwhile Hyderabml State and brought out 
a report vividly depicting the horrors and tortures perpetrated on die 
villagers by the Razakars dunng the Join Indian Union Movement. 
1947-48. After Liberation, she started the Hyderabad hnuieh ol die 
Indian Conlerence ol Social Woik. 

She was the incniber of provisional Parlnunent in 1950-52. She 
was the member of the Senate of die Osmama Umvcr.sUy for .some 
time. She was die Gcivenior of West Bengal from November 2, 1956 
to June, 1962. She was the rccepicni t>f "Padma Vibhu.shan" award 
in 1962. She was member of tire All India Handicralt.s Boturd. She 
was the Chaimtan of tlw Nehru Memorial Museum «ind Library, New' 
Delhi. She was also the Vice-Chairman ol J awtiliiu-Ud Nehru Mcmoruil 
Fund. Thas .she .served the nation in dilferent capacities. She expired 
on May 2, 1975 at Delhi. 

Sarojini Naidu 

The Nightingale of India was one of the important national level 
freedewn fighters of India. The Andhras could be proud because she 
was bom at Hyderabad on 15th February 1879. Tliis gifted ptxjtcss 
has a soft nature. She was a devoted worker and leader who fought 
for the rights of women. She orgni.scd fltXHl relief in Hyderabad City 
during the Musi floods in 1908. She was honoured by the British 
Government with the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal which she returned 
to the British Government in 1914 as a mark of protest against the 
Government's policy of repression. She was a close associate of 
Gandhiji and took part in Freedom Movement since 1915. She served 
the cause of women through vanous womens organisations. But all 
her activities are at national level and not confined to Andhra or 
Hyderabad. She was a member of the Home Rule League. She 
became popular as the first Indian Women Pre.sidcnt of the Indian 
National Congre.ss at Kanpur Session in 1925. Her activities at the 
Dhara.sana Salt Works during the Salt Saiyagraha Movement in 1930 
were well known. She was a delegate along with Mahatma Gandhi 
to the Second Round Table Conference in London in November, 1931. 
She participated in Civil Disobedience Movement and suffered 


216 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

impnsoment in 1930 and 1932 She was arrested along with Gandhiji 
on August 9th 1942 after the Quit India Resolution of the All India 
Congress Committee at Bombay. She was incarcerated in the Aga 
Khan's palace, in Poona till March 21. 1943 when she was released 
unconditionally due to ill healtli. She served several organisations 
in various capacities. She was sent by the Government of British 
India in 1932 to South Africa as a member of the Delegation. She 
was the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh under Free India during 
1947-1949. She was the author of well known books and poems. 
She had her last breath on March 2, 1949, at Lucknow. 

Comment 

Under Nizam's rule there was not much political awakening. 
In fact, general awakening was also not seen. The Nizam's rule 
exhibited discrimination in all matters including economic, social, and 
political. The percentage of literacy was very low compared to the 
size of population. When there is an obstruction for the growth of 
any development, people in general and women in particular can hardly 
be expected to participate in any activity. Inspite of this strangling 
atmosphere in the State, the people of Hyderabad could not remain 
unaffected by the national feeling and by the events taking place in 
British* India. When some of the intellectual elite found some courage 
to question an act of the government or anybody was presented by 
the autocratic rulers in the State, the people supported them fully. The 
Indian National Congress and the growth of press were responsible 
to some extent for the formation and growth of public opinion. Inspite 
of the irksome restrictions, the Arya Samaj carried on its activities 
in the State. About this time several cultural institutions of different 
language groups of the State came into existence which marked the 
beginning of the cultural revival in Hyderabad. 

It was through Arya Samaj activities the the Swadesi movement 
was carried out. The- Congress movement which was spreading in 
British India had its impact in Hyderbad. Gandhiji's decision to start 
the Non-cooperation movement combined with the Khilafat Agitation 
found a great response in Hyderabad as well. People in the Hyderabad 
State were yearning to fall in line with other Indians in British India. 
Here, we notice people and the government moving in opposite 
directions. The government wanted to assert its power by the policy 
of repression while the people began to tighten their belts to fight 
for tlieir rights. 

It was in this suffocating atmosphere that tire elite tried to 
establish cultural institutions like Andhra Jana Stmgh, Later, Andlira 



I'Ycccloni Mownu’nt UydcrabaiJ State 


277 


Maha Sabha winch gave much scope to rouse awareness n» tJie 
prevailing coiulitions Hie elite mtelligentia encouragetl wtimen’.s 
conference alongwith men. though separately nu'se conlerences gave 
gixxl .scope tor women to come out ol seclusnm an<! participate in 
the activitic.s. The number ot parficipant.s was Itmncd and conlincd 
to educated middle class anti most «>! them were wives or associated 
leadens of Andiira Malui Stibha Tlie conferences as they were hchl 
in different place.s. the locals ns well as the people ot iKughbtiuring 
area attended diem witli great spirit. Thus we find, uispite ot 
suffocating and .strangling conditions, tt>c pet^le ;md m pjtrticular 
women could come out to witnc.ss and participate in the activities. 
Neither die people nor die women had any politictd aspiration.s. 

The interviews with .stimc of die women who were die 
presidents of die Andhra Mahila 5abhas clearly brought to light that 
they had discussed only the sticial eviLs, and deplorable conditions 
of the women in the functions of the Sabha and diey iiad nothing 
to do with the political movement. Women like Nandagin Indira Devi. 
Madapati Manikyamma, Y. Sitakumari and Burgula Anania Lakshmi 
Devi clearly .said that diey played no part in the freedom movement 
of the Hyderabad State directly i.e. going to jail etc. But these Mahila 
conferences created awakening among the people and awareness about 
the British India and now people in Hyderabad State started comparing 
their condition with the remaining people in British India. This kind 
of awareness ultimately led to the fight for civil liberties, followed 
by responsible government. 

An interesting feature which we find in Hyderabad State is 
awakening of people politically by conducting Giamardhika and 
Saraswatha Parisbai exminations. Though these examinations could 
not secure any official affiliation, they played a prominent role in 
awakening the people. Yet this Gramardhika examination included 
subjects like civil, political education cwi the existing situation i.e., co- 
operauve society, land survey, general gram swaraj, self sufficiency, 
self determination and development history including the bonded 
labour and Hindi as naUonal language. Though these examinations 
were confined to intellectual elite, they toured nook and comers of 
the State to spread, to encourage, and to awaken the people on these 
ideas along with' the constructive programme. Under the All India 
Gramodyog Sangh its president J.C. Komarappa had conducted a 
questionnaire to search the needs of the rural people. This question- 
naire included problems of land, transport problems like bus stand, 


278 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

railway station, marketing facilities etc. It was through this question- 
naire they could contact the masses This method definitely served 
the purpose of awakening the people. 

The Congress women used to tour villages and meet the women 
who belonged to feudal families. These women who never came out 
earlier, started taking part in the public activities. The Congress 
women encouraged them to write Gramadhika examination and take 
up other constructive work. Thus in Hyderabad State we find efforts 
for awakening the masses through various means. 

Other than Andhra Mahila Sabhas, we donot find the partici- 
pation of women in any political activity. Satyagrha by the State 
Congress in eighteen batches showed the beginning of the political 
activity in the State. Tin then we find the people of Hyderabad did 
not have any difference of opinion, in the approach of tlieir movement. 
It was after 1939, the Communist tendency started peeping in 
Gradually the differences grew and the Andhra Maha Sabhas were 
separately held by moderates like Madapati Hanumantha Rao and 
revolutionaries like Ravi Narayana Reddy. 

The womens' political activity in the State began witli the Quit 
India Movement of 1942. Women like Gyankumari Heda, and Vimala 
Bai Melkote, started working actively and mobilising men and women, 
going house to house, and propagating the Satyagraha principles. 
Gyankumari Heda was very active and became a mem^r of the 
Congress Committee. She was the only woman member in it. There 
were only a few women who participated in the celebrations of Gandhi 
Jayanthi and suffered detention for a fortnight. But the way they 
approached the spot where the celebrations were taking place was 
simply wonderful. This bears the testimony of thousands of people 
who watched with great enthusiasm the processions and women in 
it from the tops of the houses. The confinement of women in the 
prison even for a short period inspired people in general and women 
in particular to participate in later movements like Join Indian Union 
Movement and finally the Armed Struggle. 

Women who participated in these movements belonged to 
different categories. Some of them were the wives of the leaders, 
who had a thorough background and encouragement for their partici- 
pation. But here too we find women like Burgula Anantalakshmi Devi, 
who had political atmosphere both from parents as well as from the 
husband's side but could not participate in any of the movements. But 



Fu'e<l<Hn Mt'Vftiu'ut HMli'fahat! Siai«‘ J7V 


one should appiociatc \ucli wuriu'U wh«» i-xfondod toll i.»M»iK*iation 
and support u> iluur {H‘upk* ultKh tdlimatolv tcstilft d in tin* stic«.os,s 
Her husbaiui hccame the (,'liicl MitiKtcr <d tl»f Siau* tatci She tiid 
not waste hex potetitia! h> helpiup in simal instittituuis m one wa> 
or tljc otiicr i.e.. to stait ainJ }.'io\v Knmlaih, NaiKia^m Indiia IX'vi, 
cventliou^jh her hushami was a tieedoin 14’htci. did not paitaipate 
but extended all her e«H){>eration 'Onis there were some who eoiiid 
not directly participate m the niovements hut were mvolvetl indtrectly 

TTic {xtopic m HytJerabad State belonged to ihflcrent Imguj.shc 
groups but .suhhI tor a common cause. The rrxn cause tor suttenng 
was the same tor Telugu. Mturattu atul Kannada s{x.‘aking people. .So 
they never htid any hiiiguagc bars. So, were itjcir wtnnen. who 
belonged to different regitrtts. Ft»r mstaitce (Jyjutktiman Heda belonged 
to Uttar Pradesh but settled irt HytlerabjuJ spetUcs Hindi. Vimalabai 
Melkote speak.s Kannada, llsha Ptmgrekar speaks Marathi, and Yasodti 
Bai speaks Gujaratlii smd so on. But all of them worked and .suffered 
together for die cause of tlie Hytienibad State's liberation. 

A unique feature of the Freedom Movement in Hyderabad wa.s 
that though people belonged to different regions jukI different linguistic 
groups, they never wtmted a sepjirate independent .State. All of them 
worked liard and offered Saiyagraha by (oining each other tor a 
common national feeling and cau.se. 

Women like Saraswathi Kalvtikuntla expressed during the 
interviews that the main problem in Tclangana region for women was 
lack of protection. TTicy were attacked by the Razakar and the Nizam’s 
police. They were dishonoured. Thi.s was tme of the reasons for 
less participation of women in their struggle. The path for them was 
not of roses, not even a little .smtxjth as in British India Inil full of 
thorns and risk. That is why, it was believed, that the non violence 
path of Congre.ss did m>t serve any purpose against the autocratic rule 
of the Nizam and feudal society. Thus, the people began to get 
attracted by the Communist party and resorted to violence through 
armed struggle to put an end «i their diplorable conditioas. 

We thus find women affiliated it> Communist party leaders like 
Arutla Kamala Devi, Mallu Swarajyam, Prameela Mahendra, Brij Rani 
Gour, and N. Satyavathi become promiment in propagating anti-feudal 
feelings, txmning' the women for different programmes of armed 
struggle. "Biese women were well trained in guerilla fighting and could 
mobilise many illiterate village and tribal women. Again these women 


280 


Women of Andhra m the Freedtvm Struggle 


guerillas belonged to different regions and languages Ariitla Kaniala 
Devi find Mallu Swarajyam belonged toTelanguna legion. N Satyavathi. 
originally a Congress worker belonged to Andhra legion an<i Piaincela 
Maliendra came from MaJitirashtra. But the spirit ot units they 
developed was unique. 

We also find many women who lost tliier lives iluring their 
fighting with the Razakars and the Nizam's police. Thus include 
Ramulamma, and Yellamma Daya in Nalgonda disinct, Butchamma, 
Akkayya, Ramamma Gujja, and Santamma Karra from Warangal 
District, Bhamini a lambada woman in Khammam and niimy others. 
These deaths emotionalised the rest of the people to join die armed 
struggle more in numbers. Among tliese wtimen some lost their lives; 
some lost their dear ones; and some even lost tlieir honour but did 
not repent for their participation and losses. Some of the women who 
were alive explained their feelings with the stune emotion which they 
felt at that time. The Stree Shakti Sanghatana ctirried on the project 
of throwing light on these women who had sacrificed but are unknown 
to us. The interviews with these women clearly revealed why they 
restSrred to the armed struggle; how they reacted n> the prevailing 
conditions, and how they moved from unawareness to awareness. 

The main puipose of the armed struggle was to end the 
exploitation of the feudal lords. The leaders could acliieve their 
objectives to a large extent and that was revealed in the results of 
the elections that followed. Arutla Kamala Devi, and Mallu Swarajyam, 
became members of the Legislative Assembly with a thumping 
majority. Thus, we find more than the banner of the party. Communist 
or Congress, the commitment of the pensons influencing the people 
considerably. 

The women in the Hyderabad State were doubly opprc.ssed. Still 
they participated actively in the land movement and in the political 
struggle, in agricultural labour wage struggle, and in seizure of 
landlords' grain against the "Briggs plan" of evacuating the Koyas, 
Chenchu and Lambada people from their hamlets in the forest areas, 
or from tlieir scattered hamlets in the plains. They were with their 
husbands and brothers fighting the Razakars and Nizam police and 
later against tlie army of the Government of India. They had joined 
tlie military and political squads and underwent all the tortures and 
joys of life in the forests and hills, and in the fields in rain and .sun. 
Tliey acted as couriers, as political agitators, and as organisers of 
peoples' movements and mass organisations. They faced molestation 


JuTiUitu N!ti\ i-nn'ut Hvticjah.ji! Sta!r .’’KI 


and lajK- apati iMUii fvatmps on a laj^i" M,aK' I Ik ii vJtiUiicn v^ftc 
torlurciJ .iiid kilU'd fvfnit* tlu-ij "htv fvcs 

riu’N saw then Iviovi d Jiiish.unis iti htt>tlH*ts hutUfd, aru'sKd 
and kille<J Ihv \Un\ oI shftt Ik’hik and siuhfHini tcsjstaiKC m dcffiao 
(il llieir {H’fsniiai dipniiv apaiust nudcsutjoii and tiirUJic is an awe 
in.spinnj; one The awakemu;*’ ol a new staial equality eoncept, a 
new moial and cultural life and a slubNun tijjhting qiuilitv of these 
women throws li)ihl on tlk- uetnendoiis resolutioiwry spirit and energy 
thait hati been suppressed m our womanfolk in geiicrtil. 

An allegation or cnticisin le%‘ie<! against namely, that the people 
in tins region were only fighters for their economic rights ami mn 
for political mdeiK’iuience in baseless for %'anous reasons. lurstly, it 
i.s .stud Uiat It cannot lie etdled a freedom movement as the people 
fbugiit only for a responsible government but not for complete freedtan 
from Nizam. Hut the attitude of Indian Naliomil C<mgfe.s.s for a long 
tune was only to get a rc.sixm.siblc government and tjkiminkrn statu.s. 
Tlie concept ol complete independence came only at the Lahore 
Congress meet ol 1929. Till tlien Uic C'lwigrc.s.s ctirried on .several 
movements, but did not mtciHl to be ptut t)f freedom movement. 
Gradually from <«ie movement to aiuitlier, ground wa.s prepared. In 
the same miumer, tlic tlennmd for a re.spon.siblc gtivemment in 
Hyderabad was due to the denial of the chance for people's partici- 
pation and civil liberties. 

Secondly, it was .said that the nature of the struggle also did 
not support the view that it was a freedtim movement as it was 
dominated by cultural and religious symbols on one side and accute 
economic di.sire.ss <m the other. So, it must be a movement against 
socio-economic exploiUitit>n.s but never against the Nizam. 

But every movement begin.s with economic and social exploi- 
tations. Tlie Chinese Revolution, tlic French and the Russian Revo- 
lutions also had the same origin. In Andhra Pradesh, the Chirala- 
Perala Saiyagralia. Palnadu Forest Satyagraha, and the Pedanandipadu 
movements were again.st the increase in taxation but not against the 
British rule. Even in the case of Salt Satyagnilia, the nxit cause was 
the economic factor. But they arc all part and parcel of die India,? 
Freedom Movement, 

Tliirdly, it was said tliat neidier the movements of die State 
Congress nor the Armed Struggle aimed at die termination of die 
Nizam's rule. In fact, die Freedom Movement in British India never 



282 


Wc^men of Andhra in the Freedom vStruggle 


asked die British to quit till 1942 That does not mean that the earlier 
movements were not a part oi the treedom movement Similarly, in 
Hyderabad, the people started with die aim to end the socio ectinonuc 
exploitation but ultimately dicy |omed the Join Indian Union Move- 
ment, i.e , to join widi die rest ot India which became tree Irom die 
British rule. Here, die Niz^uii who was an ally and loyal to the British, 
who was becoming a cancer m the belly, was dictated or guided 
pracdcally not by his Constitutional advisors but by the Ra/akars who 
declared that he wanted to create a '’Azad Hyderabad” or ’’Greater 
Hyderabad.” People of Hyderabad and the Government ol India 
combinediy were responsible for die liberation ol die State. Liberation 
from the Nizam indirectly means liberation from die British. 

And finally, the people could not resist die temptation ol 
celebrating Independence Day Celebrations. The people irrespective 
of their parties and ideologies came forward to hoist tlie free Indian 
tlag in the Hyderabad State. We find Brijrani Gour, a Communist 
was the first woman to get turested, Tliere w^cre a number other 
Communist women like Yasoda Bai, Sarju Bar and Nimmagadda 
Satyavathi who were all liirested for ceremomai ht>isting ol the Indian 
Flag. 



A JK^A. J^ Jn^ Aw' A 


o 


'Ole I:tst qu;iitcr of the l‘hh ecntur>* hatl witiies.scii a mei am ot- 
piiusis in the Indian polity The natiomih.st movement towanis the 
close of the last eenturv’ provided the neeessjiry inifx'tus tind stir to 
draw increasing numhttr of women to the political rnainstresun. An 
atmosphere for such a breaktlirough was feasible on account of tlie 
activities of Uie siKial reformers and nationalists who ehampionetl the 
cause of education and literacy tiniong women As the struggle l<ir 
independence gaineil :i mass character, growing participation of women 
became a necessity. Since tlien tlie ixditicai consciousness jimong 
women htis shown tin incessant increase both in extent and in depth. 
It may be ntited tliat in India'.s fight against die British Raj women 
came ftirwmd in an unprecedented manner tuid numbers. 

A detailed siutly of tlie national struggle reveals tliat this 
movement to some extent, is a part of a kirger movement namely, 
the feminist movement in tlie world. Stxritil btickwardness, econoniie 
inequalities, and lack ol sluire in ific politics smd goveniment were 
some of the problems women were facing till over the world in the 
19th century. Tlie exposure of tlie.se problems vtiried fnim country 
to country depending upon the nature of the political system. If in 
some coumrie.s it was very active and intense right at the beginning 
of the 19th century, in otJier countries we find tlu.s intensity in the 
later part of the 19ih century and beginning of die 20th century. 
Moreover, wtimcn first wanted .social security before ptilitical rights 
as according u> them the .second follows tlie first automatically. So 
in India, after the great rebellion of 1857, political situation has 
changed and men and women became aware of their sticial backward- 
ness. Hence (he social reform movements like the Brahmo Samaj 
and Arya Samaj and others took up the problem of women. 

In view of the inter-regional variations in political development 
there are several levels of political status and awarene.ss for women 
in India and for other newly emergent groups. Actually the concept 
of feminism in the political context has various shades. In some States, 
owing to early exposure to modernizing influences and the advent ol 
radical politics, there developed an organised feminist movement and 
women in large numbers have been drawn into politics. But in a 
number of other States the myth of natural division of labour between 



284 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


the sexes is still predominant in some form or the otlier even to tins 
day. Thus in terms of political status and involvement ol vvomcn, 
there are upper and lower margins and the status ol women lies in 
between the two. The social milieu and ethos, and the cultural or 
political life provide a strange yet colourful display tif ditfereni people 
and differing values. Their perceptions vary so much as they belonged 
to different epochs in the historical sense. 

In the National Liberation Movement, despite .social tmd 
financial limitations, women came forward mainly on account ol die 
effort of Gandhiji who led the Indian women in the 20tli century. Here 
the tenn emancipation cannot be interpreted in context of pure feminist 
movements. Gandhiji’s frame of reference may vary in tliis dimen.sion. 
While he instilled the necessary confidence in women whicli made 
them face bullets, suffer imprisonment, and bear hardships, insults imd 
other setbacks equally with men, it was not radical as to raise suspicion 
in the minds of men. Hence, they could join tiic struggle witli tlie 
support and cooperation of men. Great personalities like Kamiukuri. 
Venkataramam Naidu and others had given full support to the women 
in Andhra which was one of the important reasons for die success 
of the movement’ in Andhra. Therefore, there was no need lor women 
to question merely their rights as they have taken for granted some 
of them when the need arose. Thus the participation of women in 
the freedom struggle throws some light on the status of women at 
that time to some extent. However, from this we ciuinot draw 
conclusion that women in India enjoyed a better ptisition thiui in other 
parts of the world. It only helps us to realise that women of India 
could rise to any occasion inspite of prevailing social shades. If may 
be pointed out that the role of women in the freedom movement in 
Andhra and Gandhiji's leadership are complementary Ui each tither. 

Though the socio-economic backdrop of Andhra Pradesh did 
not basically differ from that of others, yet from the study of die 
movement it is very interesting to note that Andhra was one of die 
few States which had the proud privilege of having a very large number 
of women participants in the movement. Of course, there were 
stalwarts like Unnava Lakshmibayamma, Duvvuri Subbamma, Durga 
Bai and many others. Many of these women did not belong to rich 
families but they were rich in culture. They commanded greatest 
respect from all sections of society in Andhra as well as outside 
Andhra, the best example being that of Duvvuri Subbama. Naturally 
the names of these people have entered the pages of history. But 
the question was about hundreds of other women whose sacrifices 





.■*X5 


miglit not K* as sjj.'tiitRam as (hf afxnc huf {ia\r t nnif thutai their 
nute whieh lui itatiuti van nnitue An Ann> t hief im dunht jifass 
a Mfiiatieant leatlersfup mle hm the s.uiiliee ol e\ei> suhlier has In 
he acknnvvfedped a j’latetui nainm Iliere were mativ stteh women 
in this part of the eonntis who plavet! a sijjutfivanf role as given m 
I'able 1 

l■■roII! the Fable I, it is evnlent lhat ffR*re are many names which 
did not fiini a tnemion in audientie records No doubt pages of history 
might not cover all the names, l-.very reeortl would has'C its own 
frame of reference. Neverthless. esery tirop <if sacrilfce needs some 
place. 'File criteria lor ulentification in etirhcr ca.scs has been the jad 
records. But many names may have been missing frtan die Record.s, 
vStnee this ts an attempt to ukuttity tlie ctriunbution of women both 
directly as well as indirectly, an efftnt has been made in this direction 
and could form the basis for luiditionai names. 

.Some ruunes like those of Ayyagirt Balatripura Surtdari who 
went to jail luid ttnik active part, missed mention in some of the rccord.s 
on account of communication gap.s. 

Interviews ami discussioms with living freedom fighters and 
ilieir contcmponiries brought to hght many interc.sting episodes 
revealing positive contribution, 'nioiigh some of the women did not 
go to jail, the role played by them m tirgam.smg, smd .supporting the 
movements in their own lereas really dcserve.s recognition. It is in 
thi.s per.spective dial da: above names are added. 

I. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN 

The concept of Freedom was just being generated among 
educated elite and laid not been populari.sed. So, the refonners felt 
that only a combined force of men and women could fight against 
the British. But the .state of Indian women was such lhat they were 
subjected to many evil practices. It was evident that as long as they 
could not rcidise their position and fight against their own peqple, 
it was impo.s.sible to fight against a foreign domination. It was, 
therefore, clearly understood that there was a link between the social 
freedom and the political freedom. A number of. institutions like 
Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj etc. sprang up focussing on the question 
of emancipation of women as a part of their programme. The impact 
was not immediate but gradual. The deplorable state of the women 
was such lhat the idea of liberating them was initiated by men only. 

It was with their encouragement that some women reformists came 
to the forefront later on. The Liberation Movement outside India could 
not reach the women in India as they were entangled with social 




286 Women ot Andhra in tiie Freedom Stru^e^jle 


O 


PQ 

< 

H 






o 

03 


^ O 
O rO 

C5 ^ 
(4 _ 


^ ? 
S -S 
o 

^ § 

§ 
z 
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S s 

tj EJ 
Qe^ n 

H 

£>5 a 


•s 


w 


H 

U 

lap 

H 

hk 

Q 


GiO 

S 

CO 

I 

i 

3 

CO 

> 


Cm 

I 




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I—, CTs 


5^ 

■S M 

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^ Z 

■S! 5 

O' St; 


00 


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-ja S g 

I ^ I g J 

2: S > “ 
« .S 

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leg 

•§ 3 3i 

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5C' S "2 

^ ^ *Z 3 O 
^ ’T* c o 

6 ^ I 

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n cs 
y ctn 


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r- j tr-» 


04 


{ --d- 


CX3 

04 


-r-H ^ SC CO 04 Ol rl KT, 


oo SO ro 


O Os r-- Oh 
c^i ON »— < 


un oc m 


04 CO 


04 


04 

ON 

04 


04 


04 0 4 


:04 0 4 


04 


0 4 


hC 



ChiHotv 

CuiWapah 

Kum«>l 

Rayaia<»ema 


1. Adilabad 


Krfri ispvK I 



S 




till 


Cl 


s 


irj 


! I { I 


CM 


1 f 


rSl 



CTl 

M 


S S 











cx;^ ctn 


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s g 
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00 

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8 s 

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z o 


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po. 


?H? 


QIM = Quit India Movement 
JIUM = Join Indian Union Mowment 

Source - Dr. Sarojini Regani ed. “Who is Who in Andhra Prattesb". 


288 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


shackles But it was because of tins suffocating social atmosphere 
that the need for reform was felt and the seed ol reform sprouted 
quickly in tins need-based atmosphere. As a result, the women m 
Andlira as elsewhere responded prtimptly and positively to the call 
of social and political participation. We find many women coming 
up with organisations, educational institution.s and running press, 
Uirough which tliey expressed and propagated llieir views and aspi- 
rations. So with the joint efforts of these few elite wtimen and men 
reformists, the women in India gradually became partners in tlie 
freedom struggle. Along with acquiring education, women started 
attending public meetings and listen to discussions on political issues. 
This passive participation naturally gave rise to political consciou.sness 
among women. Darsi Annapumamma, Dr. Muthu Lakshmi Reddi, 
Talari Chandramathi Devi and many others did not come to the 
political platform but remained in the background and extended tlieir 
services for the cause of the country. Some women re.spondend to 
the 'reforms so positively that tiiey carne out boldly to ptuticipaie in 
the public meetings and conferences. Durgabai at tlic age of eleven 
became a follower of Gandhiji. We find Kandukuri Rajyalakshmi, 
Rukmini Lakshmipathi and Ponaka Kantamma not merely attending 
the Andhra Mahila Sabhas but becoming very effective participants 
in the discussions and issues like separate state for the people of 
Andhra etc. Such women of Andhra not only inspired and instilled 
confidence in other women but prepared the ground with a suitable 
atmosphere for future participation. So, tlic participation did not end 
with individuals but became a general phenomena. Wtimen in Andhra 
in general enjoyed slightly more freedom than women in any other 
parts of India. The relatively undisturbed conditions in the region 
compared to North played an important role in cTcating a cultural 
consciousness. So we find collective action of women more in South. 

There were about 12,558 freedom fighters from A.P. who 
figured in the records but only abtiut 380 among them were women, 
i.e. 3.2% (vide Table No. I). The Government Policy of not arresting 
women for want of jail accommodation and tine strategy of discour- 
aging women participation through lathi-cltarges, arrests and leaving 
them in distant lonely places, splashing coloured and dirty water and 
liquor on women and other insults to the women .Satyagrahis certainly 
undercounts women participants. 







II. nil'; i»,vRi icip v I ION oi in 

DIFFF.KKM MOV FMFM S 

Tlk’ lU'dit I'f ituii.iitii}’ I'lfdSts the Htjfjsti lilt (JiniN jjih*'- 

Id vvonu'n of India K.ini »<{ Iliau'-t and miIh'is wliu parin. ipaii'd in IfiV^ 
Mrup^U*. ulncii in a \va> (i{H'ns tiu' ihapicr uf stfnpplf tur itwH'fx’n 
donee Hinvovor pattu ipafii'n nl wumm t>n a mass Male Niarfod ninth 
laler It was piotisoh tinkod with tho adti iii of C iandhian ora 

Roluro Id 17 vtomons pailKipatiitii as pathotod fn*m ovidoncos 
was more nr loss passno and supixirtivo It was tuiilmed to iho sixial 
field. Hence we do not imd any watinen partuipatinjr in Vaiuleniatarani 
Movement except Orujjanti Mahalakshmamrna who followed her 
hu.sbaiul Oruftainti Venkata .Subhaiah in protessioiis Tlie rectirds say 
that tlie women of this peruK! suirtetl extemiinp their cooperalitai and 
cncounijtement to their menfolk 

Even Dr Anme Besjint ant! her 'Home Rule' campaign which 
dominated freedom struggle before the j«lvem of Gaiidhiji could not 
attract women in general. We only find some w<»men like Dmganti 
Mahalsikshmamma. and layjuithi .Suramma residing m urban areas and 
living in an environment of staunch followers of I^. Bcsani. wearing 
the 'Htime Rule' Badges by becoming members of Home Rule League. 

We do not find panieipatmn of any women m the revolutionary 
movements including that of Allun Sitaramaraju. 

However n was Gandhyi who gave a new thrust to the freedom 
movement and drew into it women in large numbers. His direction, 
.support, and mspiraiion opened the dixins for wtimen. 

He had the experience of South Africa where his "Satyagraha 
Army" hatf women in it. He was aware and confident of the 
potentialities of women as passive re.sisters. He expre.ssed in several 
public meetings that he expected great things from them and that he 
had enormous faith in their capacity to sacrifice and endure suffering. 
This was the degree of importance which Gandhiji attached to women's 
role in the freedom struggle. 

A slow beginning liad been made :md the process of mobi- 
lisation of women in many ptirts of the State had started. Tlie 
beginning was not attractive and was only on a very .small scali^, 
Nevcrilielc.ss Uic proce.ss had .symptoms of growth. By mid of 1920's 
they had tlicir slwure in tlie form of collecting funds for die Tilak Swaraj 
Fund, or funds for die Congress Party, providing food and .shelter for 
freedom fighter's familie.s etc. Countless women contributed to these 
causes. Probably they could luii go further on account of hearing 
die Iiardship.s of die male members of dieir families who participated 




290 


Women of Andhra. in the Freedom Struggle 


in the freedom struggle. Interviews witli some ol Irccdom tiglucrs 
revealed the same. 

Slowly some women .started organising processions, picketing 
liquor and government shops but many ol them loliowed the cltmon 
call by joining the processions, attending meetings etc. The inevitable 
Charka was there. Maximum number of women loined in spinning 
of Khadi. The Charka reached every household both m tlie urban 
and rural areas. This was largely due to the efforts ol women who 
did it witli religious fervour. 

We notice a gradual change in tlie trend by 19.^0. the activist.s 
came forward in courting arrests during the 19.^0 movement and tins 
continued for a decade. They braved tlie latlns and bullets ol die 
army and the humiliations and tortures inflicted on them in the prisons. 
In short, they were present willingly and actively, on whatever front 
they were needed. They did full justice to die confidence reposed 
by Gandhiji in them and in their capabilities. 

However we nodee a change in the trend of women's mass 
participation in the 1940 and 1942 movements. The interviews with 
some of the freedom fighters like Ammanna Raja, Dr. P. Tirunutla 
Rao, Madala Veerabhadra Rao, and Srirajyam Sinha brought to light 
two significant reasons. 

1. The 1940 movement being highly selective did not provide 
much scope for mass involvement. 

2. Unfortunately the 1942 movement took a violent turn 
which deterred many women from joining it, Sriraiytim 
Sinha told that she left Santimketan with a zeal to join 
the Quit India Movement but the violent change that crept 
into the movement kept this young and energitic lady ol 
those days away from participation. 

This phenomena was not restricted to Andhra alone. Even if 
we take composite Madras presidency which included twelve districts 
of Andhra of those days, we do not find many women participtmts 
in these two movements. 

Even in the other contemporary movements of those day.s, we 
notice this trend. Eventhough Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal was the captain 
in Rani Jhansi Regiment of Indian National Army of Subhash Chanilra 
Bose, we do not find any women from Andhra even in Jhansi 
Regiment. From all these, we can draw a conclusion tliat women 
being highly balanced never rc.sortcd to hasty action. Further they 
were staunch believers of non-violence. As such their participation in 
tlie 1942 movement was not very vigorous. 




kftr4 1*. jH'i I .'**1 


TABI.I'; N(K 2 DIM RKIUrsI- |>!.S I K »U I l< )N t »!■ 
WOMBS PVKIiriPVMS 


Distnti m tu» ••{ iot.il Nu ul 

Mtufini'nis v%«>iiu'<i jMftu 



i 

1 

% 

4 


1 liitM (iiHJ.naii 

n 

4 

! 


2K 

2. (Juntur 

lOS 

20 

4 

4 

1 32 

3. Kn.shijsi 

;i 

12 


S 

9 1 

4. Ntrllorc 

17 

3 

i 

? 

2 3 

5 . PrakiJ.sam 

s 




5 

6. Snkakulam 

s 

s 


1 

14 

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lo 

1 

2 

1 

20 

8. West (JtKktvitfj 

2^ 

7 

1 

V 

4tJ 

C'oastJil AiuJhra 

263 

.52 

1.5 

19 

353 91*4 

9. Anjuitapur 

4 

1 



5 

10. ChitUHJr 

3 

1 



4 

1 1 . Cu<itiap;ilt 

I 

2 



3 

12. Kumw)l 

4 

■» 

mm 



6 

Rayakisccnta 

12 

6 



18 

13. Adilabati 



«... 



14. Hyderabad 

2 

1 


10 

16 

15. Karimnagar 

- 



„ 

— 

16. Khammjixn 

4 



1 

5 

17. Maljabtxtbnagar 




— 

— 

18. Medak 

— 

_ 



_ 

— 

19. Nalgonda 

I 

2 

_ 

1 

4 

20. Nizamabad 




— . 

— 

21. Warangal 

.3 




3 

Telangana 

10 

.3 

.3 

12 

28 5.0% 

Andhra Pradesh 

285 

61 

18 

35 

399 


Sources ; Who is Who, op.cit. 



292 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom vStrugsle 


in. REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE 

1. From the Table No. II, it is evident tliat coastal Andhra 
had a major share of the women’s participation in the 
freedom struggle (about -91%), while it is around 5'yi in 
the Telangana and 4% in tlie Rayala.seema region. 

2. Even from the point of women who participated in more 
tlian one movement, it is more in the coastal districts tlian 
those of Rayalaseema and Telangana. 

3 We also notice a glaring difference in the number of 
women participants of coastal Andhra when compared to 
other regions even when we take figures of participants 
in different movements. 

4. Another interesting feature is the participation of couples 
- even this is more again in coastal districts. This 
relatively higher participation of women from coastal 
Districts of Andhra compared to other two regions might 
be traced to the following reasons. 

a) The relatively low economic and social development 
of Rayalaseema was mostly responsible for the slack- 
ness in mass participaticai in the freedom struggle in 
general. 

b) The prevalent feudalistic and Pro-British tendencies of 
Telangana under Nizam’s Rule stood m tlie way of 
more participants. 

5. Among the coastal districts, Guntur topped tlie list witli 
138 out of 396 women participants. They were more in 
all the movements when compared to other coastal 
districts. Some of the women participated in more than 
one movement, beginning with the Non-c(X)peration Move- 
ment of 1920 to the Quit India Movement of 1942. 

Krishna District holds the second place of contributing 111 
women followed by West Godavari with 52 participants. We find 
34 couples participating in the freedom movement in general from 
the Krishna District followed by Guntur district with 28 couples and 
West Godavari with 16 couples. Similarly, women participation along 
with husbands and fathers was more in coastal districts. Almost every 
district had one or two couple participants. In general, tlie regional 
variation in women's participation is attributed to the relative prosperity 
of the region, the social codes, literacy rate, and the presence of women 
activists. 






k«'f(r« > jH I, I 

HArK<;K<>l N|) Of IHF 

fJcspjU’ ihf Ml m.itn Jth fUiti'. ilw tntlivu 

a»d clliMs was nui inmh iljllfinii itMin ihv miIh t imhs m! tlic i>uii(rv 
C'hild niarnajkV'. mcif pitiJonHiuHii \vluvh in m.H»% lasrs irsiilh-d m 
child wit^^htHnK A I lusf jx'fii''.d mJ ihc ilcmii tc'i-als 

tliat main ut ihc wumcii p.ifin i{Mnis sjhu-»H\ ,tl ih» iiniiaJ 
had undergone sumc intnmatn. c\|H-tu’iHr m lik- J*rMtMW> die last 
•shnek m hie ilcveluped in main td dK-iii lunlideme ami h»jr utirk 
td tins nature 

Many such wnmm cmiitl eavih yet tilic.ist stniie supjxiri m tlicir 
cflorts Irnrn ihcir kith ,mmI km Im pinsule divervntn m hfe, stimc 
ol them were ctKourapeiS h> then faiherv, hruthers .wkI uimlcs iuid 
even neighbours tt* join the nnach The l•jlJ•enl lamtiy. and the 
Desabhiikta tannly bear lesiinititiv u» fins ivak* biographies}. 

Remembering the fact that women m Amlhra particijfiaied 
mainly m the non-violem movements tnihuted by <>andhtii. ibeir frame 
of reference was traditional Wink* the need for erlueaiion was felt, 
women did not totally dt.sbtusd their role which existed since ceniuric,s. 
Sacrifie and willingness to foegive were still the mtHlel to be followed. 
Perhap.s this was tla* reason why tinly women of higher to middle 
strata could panicipate in the movemcni. 

The reports of the magistrates tif Guntur, Knshna, East and 
West Gtxtavan, NcUore and Visakhapalnam during IV.IO’.s show that 
Hindus are the mapir panicipants in the .struggle while the low and 
depressed clas.sc.s namely Chmtims and Mu.shms .staytMl out of the 
movement. TIa* rca.son.s fiwr-this the indifference or non-participation 
of groups other than caste Hindus, as stated by the Kakinada Magistrate 
in his letter dated .^ni May 1932 was the apprecijtfion of benefits 
extended by Ums British Government to their groups. Particularly the 
depressed classes and Chrisuans dislike and distrust over the possi- 
bilities of a dominating Hindu society. The Magistrate of West 
Godavari in his report dated 5th May 1936 stated Uiat even the bulk 
of the agricultural communities to whom literacy had not well spread 
were said to be loyal to Briti.sh without participation in the Movements. 

In coastal Andhra, Muslims are comparatively few but even in 
Telangana where they were dominant, the Nizam's loyalty to the British 



294 Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 

kept tliem inert despite the Khilafat mtivement ot 192()'.s which 
convulsed tlie Hyderabad State with the rest of Uie country The 
participating groups remained almost tlie stime even in 1942 according 
to tlie Report of the I.G of Police, Madras dated 26tli Sept. 1942. 
The depressed classes and the Indian Christians did not evince much 
interest in the Congress. Muslim League's restriction regarding uiking 
part in tlie Movement minimised tlie muslmi participalion. However, 
we do find some women belonging to the above mentioned classes 
also taking part in various movements. 

With regard to various castes involved in tlie Mtivement, from 
tlie District Magistrate’s reports we find tlie land owning castes like 
Kamma, Telaga, Velama, Raju, Reddy and Bralimins in Guntur 
District; Kamma, Vysyas and Kapus in Krishna District: Kshatriyas, 
Brahmins and Vysyas in the Godavari Districts; and Reddis in Nellore 
to be dominant. In zamindari areas like Visaklitipatnani, as die 
zamindars were opposed to the Movement the participation was limned 
to the educated in towns. Against, tliis general sticial background of 
die participants in the Freedom Movement, the women naturally 
belonged to the same caste groups as tliose of men widi a few 
exceptions at individual level. 

Most of these women did not have any educatitinal background, 
having married at an early age. They received education, if any, on 
their own. Young Durgabai and her mother thus were less educated. 
It is, therefore, amazing to note these semi-literate middle class women 
belonging mostly to small towns and villages coming forward in such 
a big way. The struggle had developed a sort of religious commitment 
in them on account pf the Charisma of Gandhiji. 

Finally, certain typical characteristics which had been a com- 
mon phenomena throughout the country of those days could be 
observed even in Andhra. 

1. Male direction. 

2. Concept of complementary sex-roles. 

3. Absence of radical onslaught on the base of Indian culture. 

4. Orientation towards elite representation and not mass 
mobilization. 



Kv tiiisjx-v J 




J I-rum tin.’ ihf pn<hlcin‘> ut vhijim ii vii-tf hiphhji’liU'd 

miiially by muik* tm-n {•\cii in tht* f iccduut SuuypU- vmnun urrc 
initiated b> men and lumtn'iietJ umlei IIh ii leaiJeislnp {Vimhis like 
Kandukuri and tlK’ir asstn lations like PiaUhaiia Samaj were ies{»i»ijsihie 
lor the inspiration 

2 . Women in Amlliia did not partuipaie vi^iih eom|x*tiine or 
assertive spirit ‘Iliere was a tiend ol eomplementary sex -role f’erhaps 
tins may tie tine to tlk* laet ih.it many tonples were iiivtdvetl in it. 
As many as 105 couples ttK>k p;ul in tlitlercnt moseiiiciits TIk' idea 
ol women eomfx’tinjj with men in economic sphere or men ctHiiK’nitmjr 
witli women in domestic sphere was absent In adthiion, the ohlij^atton 
on wtimen psurticiptmts to serve ihcir lamtly first suhI then community 
meant Unit only rmdtfle class women with sullicient nine and man 
power ctiultl acttmtly ilo both. ‘ITiis contributed tt» tiic laci that women's 
participation was reslrictetl to the middle and upper classes. 

5 In no movement do we come across women diverting their 
attention Irom the national cause to individual emancipaiioo. Thi.s 
spirit ol women ncctls mention in goitlcn letters. The ft^hi was nal 
Jar equality hut Jar a greater cause. Tins reveals that women in 
Andhni have already achieved quite a sub.stantial measure of eman- 
cipatuHi. 

4. Although die number of women participants wa.s impre.ssivc. 
yet as alrcjidy mcntionetl. it was more or less confined to the elite 
aiKi middle classes. Many cniic.s attribute this to Gandhian .style of 
mobilization, which according ui them did not facilitate mas.s mobi- 
lization. 

Tlie above critical analy.sis of Gandhiji'.s impact on the partici- 
pation of women in the nationalist movement must be viewed in the 
perspective of Gandhian ideology and techniques which inspired 
women to participate in public activities breaking all barriers. Indeed 
his campaigns .served as training ground for many prominent women 
leaders. 

Gandhiji had a specific role for women chalked out within the 
national movement. They were never inducted into the movement 
without the permission of their husbands or their fathers. Gandhiji 
wrote in Young India that he had found the work for women. The 
picketing of liquor shops and foreign cloth shops by men, though it 




296 


Women of Andhra in the Freedom Struggle 


succeeded beyond expectauons upio a point of time in 192K u will 
be the quickest way of educating the people concerned. It must never 
be a matter of coersion but conversion iuid mt>ral persuasion The 
choice of liquor and foreign cloUi was an excellent strategy The 
effects of both drunkenness and unemployment affected the Itome 
directly. And the causes were popuhtr enough to draw literate and 
illiterate women well. Gandhiji wrote tliat tins would give women 
access to power. 

Tlie mass participation of women in the 1930 Satyagnilia 
demonstrated that tliey have been well-trained and organised by tiie 
constructive programme of Gandhiji, Questioning Gandhian impact on 
women participation in terms of mass involvement resembles asking 
for fruits at the sowing stage. What the world could not do even 
today Gandhiji’s charismatic' personality could do half a century ago. 
The living participants unequivocally mentioned Gandhiji as their 
mentor, master and leader. Even women who later were attracted to 
the Socialist Philosophy, had their entry into the political arena through 
the words of Bapu. 



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